*BY: RALPH EJIMKONYE With Agency Report*
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC have again explained further why it decided to withhold the Certificate of Return of Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha and three others.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN reports that Mr. Festus Okoye, the Commission’s National Commissioner, Information and Voter Education, said the “ decision does not amount to shifting goal post at the middle of the march”
He said in Awka that INEC only issues certificate to people who genuinely win elections.
“Issuance of certificates of return is a statutory function of INEC, it is only issued to those who won election and must be done through free will of a returning officer.
“In the case of Imo West Senatorial zone where Okorocha contested, the Otu-Opi Federal Constituency in Benue, Agayi State Constituency and another in Akwa Ibom, what INEC is saying is that you can’t engage in bad electoral behaviour and expect INEC to reward you with a certificate.
“Our certificate is only for those who won freely,” he said.
Okoye said the commission has the right not to issue certificate to such persons as it would amount to abnormality.
He said INEC’s action is not targeted at the voters who voted people of their choice, but to address excesses of those who wanted to use unconventional means to win elections.
“Once we have such case, INEC will not issue certificate, but ensure that the right thing is done,” he said.
He said at the moment contenders of the positions in all the four affected areas are in court adding that INEC is awaiting for the outcome of the pending matters. He also said if the court orders INEC to issue certificates of return to the people involved, it would do same.
Governor Okorocha had dragged the Commission to Court to compel the commission his Certificate of Return on the grounds that he won the Imo West Senatorial election.