INEC removes Okorocha from list of Senator-elect that will receive their Certificate of Return

Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja

Imo State Governor  Rochas Okorocha is not listed by the  Independent National Electoral Commission among the senators-elect that will  receive their certificates of return on Thursday.

Okorocha won in the  February 23 Imo West senatorial election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.

Investigations by our correspondent in Abuja on Monday revealed that the new senators would receive their certificates of return at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

On its website where the names of all the senators-elect were published, the commission claimed the winner of the Imo West Senatorial District election was announced under duress.

It, therefore, did not list anyone as the winner.

The  Returning Officer for the election, Prof Francis Ibeawuchi, declared Okorocha as the winner of the poll,  having polled 97,762  votes ahead of his closest rival,  Mr Jones Onyereri of the Peoples Democratic Party, who had 68,117 votes.

However, both the PDP and the All Progressives Grand  Alliance protested against  the declaration of Okorocha as the winner of the election.

Ibeawuchi later claimed he was forced to declare Okorocha as the winner to save his life.

He said that he feared for his life and he was forced to announce the result of the poll,  which he said was inconclusive, in favour of the governor.

He had said, “I was compelled to announce the result which was inconclusive.  I’m a man of integrity and it is not true that the governor slapped me but I was held hostage by agents working for him. I was manhandled and I thank God that I came back alive.”

The  Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, on Thursday, said the commission would not issue a certificate of return to anyone declared the winner of any election under duress.

He said, “The commission will not tolerate the act of holding our officials hostage and forcing them to declare winners under duress.”

Meanwhile, the commission is to hold supplementary elections in seven districts.

They are Abia South, Imo North, Kogi East, Ondo South, Rivers East and West.

PUNCH

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