BY RALPH EJIMKONYE
Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has said the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is setting a bad precedence by withholding his Certificate of Return.
INEC had withheld the Imo State Governor’s Certificate of Return on the grounds that he was declared winner of the Imo West Senatorial election under duress.
Okorocha is in court with the electoral commission on the matter.
In a petition he filed at the Commission’s head office in Abuja, the Imo Governor advised the INEC Chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu, not to reduce the commission as a tool in the hands of political manipulators.
He said if there were issues with the election , the Commission should make recourse the election tribunal.
He said, “Section 285 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, states that there shall be established for the Federation one or more elections tribunal to be known as the National Assembly Elections Tribunal which shall, to the exclusion of any court or tribunal, have original jurisdiction to hear and determine petitions as to whether (a) any person has been validly elected as a member of the national Assembly,” he wrote.
“Section 133 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) provides that No election and return at an election under this Act shall be questioned in a manner other than by a petition complaining of an undue election or an undue return presented to the competent tribunal or court in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution or of this Act, and in which the person elected or returned is joined as a party.
Okorocha asked where INEC derived the power to withhold certificate of return after a winner in an election had been announced. He argued that the step taken by INEC is not known to law and advised the commission to seek redress in the law court rather than taking laws into its own hand