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Okorocha’s Certificate of Return Saga

Despite conflicting Court Orders, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has issued the former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha a Certificate of Return as Senator-elect representing Imo West Senatorial District. The Commission met on Tuesday, 11th June 2019, when it took the decision to issue Mr. Okorocha a Certificate of Return, in compliance with an order of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, presided over by Justice Okon Abang, on Friday 7th June 2019. According to the Court, INEC had no legal authority to withhold the certificate since Rochas Okorocha had been declared winner of the election. It will be recalled that INEC had declined to present Mr. Okorocha with a Certificate of Return on the ground that the Returning Officer who presided over the election stated that he had declared the results under duress. Justice Abang’s order came on the heels of an Imo State High Court order restraining the issuance of the Certificate of Return to Mr. Okorocha. A statement released by the Commission on Tuesday, 11th June 2019 reiterated its commitment to abiding by Court judgements and orders but noted concerns over the possible consequences of this judgment on the electoral process and democracy in general. The statement also expressed INEC’s concern over the safety of its officials in the course of discharging their duties.


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