Chuks Okocha in Abuja
At last, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday issued a Certificate of Return to the former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, as senator-elect representing Imo West senatorial district.
This is coming as Justice Ngozi Okoha of High Court of Imo State sitting in Owerri, yesterday ordered the electoral commission not to issue certificate of return to the former Imo State governor.
Acknowledging the receipt the certificate, Okorocha while speaking with journalists at the INEC headquarters in Abuja shortly after receiving the certificate, said he was called upon at exactly 6.14 p.m. that his certificate was ready.
“At exactly 6.14 p.m., thus evening, after the inauguration of the assembly, I was invited that my certificate is ready and I have just come to collect it.
“I take it to be God’s time. I have always believed that justice delayed is justice denied, but for the sake of our nation, I accepted it.”
He also commended the judiciary for doing the needful and for being there at the needed time as well as serving as the last resort for the common citizens or anybody that felt oppressed.
“I also want to thank INEC for taking this bold step against all odds by issuing my certificate of return, which go along way to confirm that the allegation of duress is not founded by a delay tactic by my detractors to have slow down the process.
“I believe this is God’s time and I take it as God’s time. I am happy that finally the matter is resolved.
Okorocha said he harboured no grudge about not being able to participate in the inauguration ceremony for the ninth assembly and the voting process that produced the leadership of the ninth Senate, adding that he would have loved to be in attendance at the inauguration.
“Now that I have the certificate, I have opportunity to join my colleagues to see how to move Nigeria forward. While reaffirming his membership of All Progressives Congress (APC ), Okorocha stated that there was nothing wrong with the party but its management.
“I will not stop be an APC member because of somebody. I came into APC alone and I am in the party. I believe in the party. It will be good to say that time will tell,” he said
The former governor said that he was coming to the senate to help rebuild the political bridges and the rest of the country.
“I am also decided to see the possibility of free education at all levels in Nigeria, so that ordinary people, the poor can have access to education,” he added
INEC had denied Okorocha his certificate of return following an allegation that the Returning Officer of the commission declared him winner of the election under duress.
The Federal High Court in Abuja , however on Friday ordered INEC to issue him a Certificate of Return.
In another judgement, a High Court of Imo State, presided over by Justice Njemanze, had directed the commission not to issue a Certificate of Return to any of the senatorial candidates that contested the election.
The order from the High Court of Imo State was issued on May 23, 2019 and the suit has been further adjourned to June 26, 2019.
INEC had promised to meet yesterday to take a decision on the matter and other court orders on the issuance of the Certificate of Return to Okorocha and other candidates with court cases.
Meanwhile, the High Court of Imo State sitting in Owerri yesterday ordered INEC not to issue certificate of return to Okorocha.
The judge, Justice Ngozi Ukoha, restrained INEC from “departing from its decision not to issue a certificate of return in respect of Imo West senatorial district election.”
The judge gave the order while ruling on an application filed by Osita Izunaso of the All Progressives Grand Alliances (APGA).
The order was pending the determination of the motion on notice challenging the victory of Okorocha.
The latest court order was the third on the issue.