The Independent National Electoral Commission explains why it finally issued certificate of return to Rochas Okorocha, former governor of Imo State
The certificate of return was not given to Okorocha because the returning complained that he was under duress to announce the result.
However, the INEC complied after its meeting today, June 11, during which it considered 14 memoranda involving judgements and orders in pre-election matters relating to the issuance of certificates and or withdrawal of certificates already issued in pre-election matters.
Among the memorandum considered is that concerning the judgement on Imo West Senatorial District by the Federal High Court, Abuja
Festus Okoye, national commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, INEC, in a statement, said that in arriving at the decision to comply with the court order, the commission “took into consideration the orders issued by two high courts in the Owerri Judicial Division in Suit No HOW/596/2019 issued on 23 day of May 2019 and another dated the 11 June, 2019, issued in Suit No.HOW/663/2019 restraining the commission from issuing Certificate of return in respect of the said senatorial district.”
The Commission noted that both are interim orders issued ex-parte and not final orders of the court.
“In obeying the judgement, the commission is demonstrating once again its longstanding commitment of complying with all orders of court, including those which it may have reservations.
“However, the Commission must put on record its very profound concerns about the likely consequences of this judgement for our electoral process in particular and our democracy in general. Obviously, persons who seek elective offices could perceive in this judgement an irrelevance of due process and acting within the law.
“It is not far fetched that some of them could in future disregard laid down processes, including voting, arm themselves and mobilise thugs and compel returning officers to declare them elected, irrespective of the outcome of elections.
“Moreover, it may become increasingly difficult for the commission to convince its officials that they are safe to carry out their legitimate functions without fear of being harassed, held to ransom or visited with bodily harm,” the statement, which was made available to Realnews on Tuesday evening said.
The INEC also restated its commitment to due process and obedience to the rule of law in its dealings with all parties and candidates. “We assure Nigerians that we will not waiver in our determination to enthrone a credible electoral process in Nigeria,” it said.
– June 11, 2019 @ 9:29 GMT |