- Governor Rochas Okorocha has accused INEC of scuttling democracy in Imo state
- The Imo state governor also accused the electoral umpire of frustrating his democratic effort by withholding his certificate of return
- Okorocha described as false the allegation that he was declared winner of Imo West election under duress
Governor Rochas Okorocha has alleged that the activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Imo during the announcement of election results were designed to scuttle democracy in the state.
Okorocha made the allegation on Tuesday, April 9, while briefing newsmen in Owerri on INEC’s continued refusal to issue him the certificate of return as the winner of the Imo West senatorial district election.
He described as false, the commission’s allegation that the returning officer for the February 23 senatorial poll in the area allegedly announced the result under duress.
The governor, therefore, urged INEC to look into the confusion over the election results in some areas of the state.
He said: “Elections are over and we are now dealing with the aftermath characterising it. There was an allegation of duress but up till now no one has been able to say who is guilty because the victim has stated that I never touched him.
“The police also reported that there was no duress and yet INEC has continued to withhold my certificate of return. It is clear that the resident electoral commissioner was here on a mission to frustrate my efforts but he has only succeeded in delaying justice.
“It is also unfortunate that the Imo INEC allowed itself to be used as a weapon to destroy our democracy but we will not relax until the right thing is done."
Okorocha further alleged that INEC flouted the law by issuing a certificate of return to the governor-elect, Emeka Ihedioha, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who he said won by number of votes.
According to him, there should have been a rerun between Ihedioha and the Action Alliance (AA) candidate, Uche Nwosu, since he did not win with two third majority.
The governor said: “The candidate of the PDP did not win with two third majority because he won in 12 local government areas instead of 18 and yet INEC was quick to issue him the certificate of return.
“There was no balance, justice or fairness and it was glaring. The constitution clearly dictates there was no winner in section 179 (2b), which clearly says that in cases of victory by number of votes there should be a rerun between the winner and the runner up.
“Going by this, there was no gubernatorial election in the state. The AA governorship candidate has petitioned the tribunal, and I pray justice will be done soon.”
Okorocha said that he would gladly handover to the governor-elect on May 29 and appealed for peace and tolerance in the state.
He urged the people to disregard allegations against him, describing them as propaganda. He denied selling off any government property, saying that his administration did not take a loan of N17 billion and did not owe any bank as alleged by the PDP.
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The governor also spoke on the need for Ndigbo to be given their rightful position in the nation’s scheme of things as an important component of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Governor Okorocha said Igbo people failed woefully in Nigeria politics because they refused to accept the light that came to them and also failing to appreciate the leaders that came to help them.
The outgoing governor of Imo state made the statement on Monday, April 8, when speaking to newsmen at the government House in Owerri.
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