- The INEC has said it will not recognise incumbent governor of Imo, Rochas Okorocha, as a senator-elect
- The returning officer earlier declared Okorocha winner for Imo West senatorial district, but later said he did so “under duress”
- INEC spokesperson, Festus Okoye, however, said the commission will not reward bad behavior in the electoral process
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed why it would not issue a certificate of return to any candidate in the Imo West senatorial election that was held on Saturday, February 23.
The commission said it will not recognise the outgoing governor of Imo, Rochas Okorocha as a senator-elect because of the controversy during the collation process.
The returning officer, Innocent Ibeabuchi, who declared Okorocha the winner for Senate seat noted said he did so “under duress”.
It was learnt that Okorocha’s name was omitted from the INEC’s list of senators-elect published on the commission’s website.
INEC spokesperson, Festus Okoye, during Channels TV’s Lunchtime Politics Program on Tuesday, March 12, explained reasons behind the commission’s decision.
Okoye said: “The commission has decided that we will not reward bad behavior in the electoral process and we recorded bad behavior in result collations in Imo West senatorial district.
“Investigation by the commission revealed that the returning officer for Imo west made a return under suspicious circumstances.
“He was put under too much pressure. He was forced to make a declaration and a return and we made determination that that particular return was not made out of the free will of the returning officer."
Okoye explained that in such circumstance where a valid return has not been made, “we are not going to bend the arm of the INEC to (accept) such a return."
The official said: “So therefore, we decided not to issue certificate of return to any candidate of the Imo West senatorial elections until the commission takes a more critical look and take a decision on where to go from here."
Earlier, Legit.ng had reported that Okorocha won the senatorial seat for Imo West zone.
The INEC collation officer, Professor Ibeawuchi Francis, announced Okorocha as winner after he scored a total of 97,762 votes to defeat his closest rival, Jones Onyereri of the PDP who scored 63,117 votes.
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