The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has stated that it will only present a Certificate of Return to the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, as senator-elect if directed by a court of competent jurisdiction to do so.
INEC’s Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye made the disclosure during a press conference in Abuja, on Thursday.
The INEC Returning Officer for Imo West senatorial election, Francis Ibeawuchi, had declared Okorocha winner of the election. But he would later recant his earlier announcement, explaining that this was because the declaration was made under duress.
Against this backdrop, INEC declined to issue Okorocha with a certificate of return to represent Imo West in the Senate.
Following this development, Okorocha dragged the electoral umpire before a Federal High Court in Abuja.
Reacting to the development, Okoye said: “The position of the commission has not changed. The position of the commission is that we will not issue certificate of return to Governor Rochas Okorocha in relation to the senatorial election.
“Since the matter is already in court, the best thing to do is not to prejudge the matter that is in court, but to allow the judicial processes to run through.
“If at the end of the day, the court gives an order that we should give him his certificate of return, of course, the commission will obey such a court order.
“If on the other hand, the court takes a different position and makes other consequential orders in relation to the conduct of the elections in Imo West, we will also comply with whatever order the court gives.
“As of today, the matter is pending in court, the best thing to do is to wait for the outcome of the judicial process.”