Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State is angry with the leadership of his party, All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). He is accusing the two of conspiring to deny him Certificate of Return for Imo West senatorial seat.
Last week, I wrote a letter to INEC officials myself informing INEC about their wrong doings and illegal actions taken by the commission to withhold my certificate on mere allegation of duress, which was never founded, neither was there any committee set up to investigate the matter. INEC on their own believed the reports of its Returning Officer, without investigating the authenticity of such allegation. So, there was no issue of fair hearing at all on whether I committed the offence that their person alleged.
What is important here is that INEC doesn’t have the power to withhold Certificate of Return, having declared a result. Both the certificate of return and the declaration is just one subject matter, just that the other one is ceremonial because result has been declared. Looking at some of the activities that have taken place since this issue of my certificate, it became obvious that the INEC Chairman was up to a game with the Chairman of APC, who are being used as to frustrate my coming to the Senate and this is politically motivated. I’ve given enough time that INEC might correct itself and do the needful and issue a Certificate of Return, all to no avail.
To buttress the point more, even after issuance of this letter to INEC, many things had happened within the week. For instance, INEC that made a submission to the tribunal in Owerri has gone back requesting that they want to withdraw the submission they made. The submission they made was defending the declaration of election results. It is normal that INEC ought to defend its declaration. But because that submission was seen to be in my favour, INEC has gone back to say it will withdraw the submission, which is also out of time. Now, they went through an affidavit by the Head of Legal Department; one Elekwa who made the submission. He has now gone back to say he wants to withdraw.
Reliably, I was informed that he was under threat by a senior official in INEC, who has threatened to sack him from INEC if he does not withdraw. So, there is a huge threat going on now in INEC to sack the gentleman for not doing the wrong thing or being part of the script and I’m sure, for some reason, they may have forgotten to inform him to do the wrong because if they had informed him to do the wrong thing, he would have done that. He went there believing that he was defending INEC the normal way they should.
Surprisingly again to also buttress a point, the APC National Chairman has gone to the tribunal again asking to withdraw the matter which APC had filed defending the victory of APC at the Senate. What INEC is doing is the same thing the APC is doing. So, this tells you that there is a game going on. But I wonder what they will do with the certificate. If they don’t give me the certificate, who will they give it to? Maybe they will give it to Festus Okoye because Festus Okoye is from my senatorial zone.
As it stands right now, the image of INEC is bastardised for this singular act and they are setting a bad precedent. What that means is that tomorrow, somebody can withdraw the result of anybody because you don’t like his face or because you feel he is going to politically challenge you in the future.
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