Members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) youth caucus from the South-East yesterday, protested the refusal of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha’s certificate of return.
Naija News reports that Gov. Okorocha had been declared the winner of the Imo North senatorial election but the same Returning Officer who declared his victory turned around to say he announced the result under duress.
Based on the Returning Officer’s claim, INEC decided to withhold the Certificate, noting that INEC only issued a certificate to people who genuinely won elections.
But in a letter of protest dated May 22, 2019 and addressed to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and signed by South-East Zonal Youth Leader of the party, Olisaemeka Onyeka and some executives of the caucus, urged the commission to reconsider its decision so as not to fuel tension in the state.
The youths who besieged the national headquarters of INEC said the INEC had no right to hold on to the certificate.
They insisted that the result was announced in the presence of security agencies, other party officials as well as the media, adding that there was no sign of intimidation or duress.
“We are writing this letter to protest against the decision of INEC to withhold the Certificate of Return of the Executive Governor of Imo State, His Excellency Owelle Rochas Okorocha, winner of the Imo North Senatorial District.
The letter stressed that the returning officer announced Governor Okorocha winner of the National Assembly election in the presence of all security agencies, print and traditional media and INEC’S spokesperson who was also at the venue, adding that it ..‘came as a surprise when same commission alleged that the announcement was made under duress.
“We again remind the INEC that once declaration was made by an election returning officer, the commission has no right to withhold the winner’s Certificate of Return,” the group said.
Mr. Kelechi Madumene, an Assistant Director in the Commission, in response to the APC caucus, commended the protesters for a ‘peaceful’ protest, informed them that the matter was already in court.
He said that it would amount to subjudice to as much as comment on the matter that was already before the court of law.
He, however, assured them that the Commission will do the right thing within the ambience of the law.