Rochas erects new statue of Buhari in Owerri in response to snub by Inec over certificate of return

IMO State's Governor Rochas Okorocha has reacted to the recent decision by the Independent National Election Commission (Inec) not to give him a certificate of return for being elected as a senator by erecting a statue of President Muhammadu Buhari.


On February 23, Governor Okorocha, who is due to end his second term in office on May 29, stood as the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the Imo West Senatorial District. Initially, Inec had announced him as the winner of the contest but this decision was later reversed after the returning officer revealed that he was made to declare the results under duress.


Earlier this week, all the senator-elects whose results have been declared received their certificates of return in Abuja Governor Okorocha was not invited to the ceremony. Unhappy with the decision, the governor has blamed the APC chairman Adams Oshiomhole for his plight  and it looks like that in response to the debacle, he has decided to erect a statue of President Buhari.


Over the last four years, Governor Okorocha has stepped up the erection of statues across Owerri, the state capital, mainly of African leaders like Jacob Zuma and Eileen Sirleaf-Johnson. Mocking this practise, BBC News Igbo  shared photos of the latest statue on its Facebook page, asking if the governor was never tired of erecting statues.


In a another development, Governor Okorocha has expressed dismay at the recent action of the new governor-elect Hon Emeka Ihedioha, who has begun issuing directives before assuming office. Hon Ihiedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was declared the winner of the election by Inec, defeating Governor Okorocha's son-in-law Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance.


According to Governor Okorocha, Hon Ihedioha has already issued directives to banks to stop honouring Imo State cheques. Governor Okorocha said that as governor-elect, Hon Ihedioha, has no constitutional powers to issue directives to banks when he has not yet been sworn-in as governor.


Saying that the governor-elect was behaving like a typical member of the Peoples Democratic Party, Governor Okorocha said he is only interested in the state treasury. He asked Hon Ihedioha to exercise patience until May 29 before he starts issuing directives to banks on the state’s financial dealings.


Governor Okorocha added: “Emeka Ihedioha, who was declared winner of the governorship election in Imo State by the Professor Francis Ezeonu-led Inec in Owerri, does not have the right or locus yet to harass or give directives to the financial institutions in the state over their dealings with the state government. The media report quoting Ihedioha as having given such directives is unfortunate and a sign of ugly things to come.


"Otherwise, Ihedioha should not have been the first of all the governors-elect in the country to issue such directive. We are also not surprised at his issuing the directive because as a PDP man, his interest, first and foremost, will be the treasury of the state and the policy or the slogan of share the money will soon come back but he should exercise patience and wait till he is sworn-in."