Inec refuses to give Rochas certificate of return said he was declared winner in Imo West illegally

GOVERNOR Rochas Okorocha's name has been omitted from the official Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) list of senators-elect after it was adjudged that the returning officer in the Imo West Senatorial District declared him the winner under duress.


Following last weekend's elections, Governor Okorocha was declared the winner of the Imo West Senatorial District, with 97,762 votes, beating his closest rival Jones Onyereri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who got 68,117 votes. However, Inec's returning officer Professor Francis Ibeawuchi, has since revealed that he announced the results under duress as he was abducted and held until he pronounced the governor the winner.


As a result, Inec has dropped Governor Okorochas's name from the list of senators duly elected which it just published. This Thursday March 14, the senators-elect are due to receive their certificates of return from Inec but it is looking like Governor Okorocha will now have to wait for a re-run in certain parts of his constituency as the elections have been declared inconclusive.


On its website, Inec has listed the names of all the senators-elect and they are due to be handed their certificates at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. Inec chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, said the commission would not issue a certificate of return to anyone declared the winner of any election under duress.


He added: “The commission will not tolerate the act of holding our officials hostage and forcing them to declare winners under duress.”


Professor Ibeawuchi had claimed he was forced to declare Governor Okorocha as the winner to save his life. He said that he feared for his life and he was forced to announce the result of the poll,  which he said was inconclusive, in favour of the governor.


“I was compelled to announce the result which was inconclusive.  I’m a man of integrity and it is not true that the governor slapped me but I was held hostage by agents working for him. I was manhandled and I thank God that I came back alive,” Professor Ibeawuchi added.


Both the PDP and the All Progressives Grand  Alliance have protested against  the declaring of Governor Okorocha as the winner of the election. Inec has already announced that it will hold supplementary elections in seven senatorial districts including Abia South, Imo North, Kogi East, Ondo South, Rivers East and Rivers West.