Court orders INEC to issue certificate of return to Okorocha

Court orders INEC to issue certificate of return to Okorocha

Justice Okon Abang of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Friday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a certificate of return to former Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha who ran for the Senate.

Justice Abang ruled that the resolve to withhold Okorocha’s certificate is not supported by the provisions of the law and as such is a “lawless decision.”

Galaxy’s Godfrey Eshiemoghie reports that the Court further said that only INEC's returning officer has the constitutional backing to declare a winner, adding that any candidate proclaimed as such will retain his or her victory until petitioners succeed in changing the decision through proceedings at the election tribunal, where Okorocha has no business being the originator of the petition.

The argument by the candidates of the PDP and that of APGA that the matter ought to be taken to the election petitions tribunal on the grounds that it is a post-election matter which robbed the court of jurisdiction under sections 285, 251(1) of the 1999 Constitution, was nullified by Justice Abang.

Legal counsels of the both camps have accepted the court judgment differently.

It will be recalled that INEC had insisted that it will not issue a certificate of return to Okorocha without a court order on grounds that the returning officer for Imo west senatorial district election declared Okorocha the winner under duress.

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