Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State in his petition on Tuesday said that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) lacks the power to withhold his certificate of return.
Okorocha in his petition titled; ‘Need to Avert Abuse of Office and Political Corruption by my Political Opponents with the Active Collaboration of INEC’s Leadership in Clear Violation of the Law,’ said that he was not happy that the electoral commission withheld his certificate of return even after he was declared winner of the Imo West Senatorial District Election.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Chieftain who has being at loggerheads with the Chairman of his party, Adams Oshiomhole, was the candidate of APC in the election.
INEC had refused issuing his Return Certificate to him because his declaration was allegedly made under duress.
The governor who addressed his petition to the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, noted that the commission had not right by law to withhold his certificate of return.
“Section 285(1) of the 1999 Constitution states that ‘There shall be established for the Federation one or more election tribunals 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.’
“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.’
“Where then did INEC derive the power to withhold a certificate of return after a winner in an election had been announced?”