INEC lacks power to withhold my certificate of return –Okorocha

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Embattled Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha have cried once again over the withholding of his certificate of return by Inec.

The governor in his petition said the commission lacks the power to withhold his certificate of return.

Okorocha who ran for the senatorial seat in IMO West under the platform of the All Progressives Congress in the February 23 election was declared winner of the election but the returning officer however retrieve his statement by saying he declared the incumbent winner of the election under duress.

Return that Apc said there is nothing they can do to help the situation of the governor as he is currently on suspension.

In  his  petition to INEC on Tuesday,  Okorocha   said he was not happy that  the body decided to  withhold  his  certificate of return after he was announced as the winner of the election.

The petition titled, ‘Need to Avert Abuse of Office and Political Corruption by my Political Opponents with the Active Collaboration of INEC’s Leadership in Clear Violation of the Law,’ was addressed to the  Chairman of the commission,  Prof Mahmood Yakubu.

The  governor said going by the laws governing elections in the country, INEC had no right not to issue him a certificate of return.

He added that if there were issues with an election after the announcement of a winner,  the  Election Petitions Tribunal would resolve them.

Okorocha said, “Section 285(1) of the 1999 Constitution states that ‘There shall be established for the Federation one or more election tribunals to be known as the National Assembly Elections Tribunal which shall, to the exclusion of any court or tribunal, have original jurisdiction to hear and determine petitions as to whether (a) any person has been validly elected as a member of the National Assembly.’

“Section 133 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) provides that ‘No election and return at an election under this Act shall be questioned in a manner other than by a petition complaining of an undue election or an undue return presented to the competent tribunal or court in accordance with the provisions of the constitution or of this Act, and in which the person elected or returned is joined as a party.’

“Where then did INEC derive the power to withhold a certificate of return after a winner in an election had been announced?”

 

INEC Director of Publicity and Voter Education,  Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said since Okorocha had gone to court over the issue, he should allow it to make a pronouncement on his certificate of return.

He said, “The case is in court. He is the one that took us to court. He should, therefore, wait for the court to determine the case.”

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