Outgoing Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha has appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue him with certificate of return as the senator-elect for Imo West.
He made the appeal at a press conference in Abuja today.
“I will advise INEC to do the right thing, to release my certificate so that I can celebrate as others. I want to be in the Senate and it will be interesting if I am there ” Okorocha said.
He urged INEC not to allow itself manipulated by his political opponents, who he said, wanted to freeze him out politically.
Okorocha was not invited by INEC to a ceremony in Abuja where certificates of return were presented to all senators elect and members of the House of Representatives. Okorocha was declared winner of Imo West two weeks ago, amidst claims by the returning officer, Professor I. Ibeabuchi that he made the declaration under duress.
INEC appeared to have upheld the submission and omitted Okorocha’s name from the list of senators-elect invited to Abuja.
Okorocha said his travails are connected to the politics of 2023 and that his opponents are already conspiring to close him out.
“I understand that people are beginning to fight a war of the future now when we are not even yet there.
“The idea is that, do not give Rochas a certificate; you must slow him down until after they have elected the presiding officers, then you can let him come in,”he said.
He added that the idea was to also ensure that he does not become anything in the Senate and to make sure that his governorship candidate son in-law does not emerge winner.
Okorocha ended his conference with some sarcasm, suggesting that INEC excluded from today’s event for a bigger event.
“I think probably, INEC must be trying to do something special, because I understand that once results have been declared and returns made, then you are bound to be issued a certificate of return,”he said.
“Maybe, INEC would want to organise a special programme for me to hand over this certificate of return to me, because clearly, I won and it was a peaceful election, the best you can ever think of,”he said.