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Protests loom over certificate of return for Okorocha

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Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo State. Photo/OwelleRochas/

A civil society group, Citizens’ Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER), has threatened to, in conjunction with the people of Imo West Senatorial District, organise a-1,000-man protest in Abuja if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) fails to issue a certificate of return to Rochas Okorocha as the senator-elect for the district within seven days.

The Abuja-based group stated this in a letter dated May 2, 2019 and addressed to Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.

CASER posited that Okorocha, having been declared winner in the election, should have been issued the certificate of return alongside other elected members of the National Assembly.

The letter, signed by Andrew Korna on behalf of the Executive Director, stated: “The act of withholding the certificate of a declared winner in an election is not just a clear case of abuse of constitutional powers by INEC, but it has become a painful denigration of a supposedly independent, impartial and unbiased electoral umpire that has now become embroiled and tainted with the corrupt vestiges of partisan politics.”

The group stressed that INEC, being a creation of the laws of the land, should be guided by the laws at all times.

It also said that by withholding Okorocha’s certificate of return, INEC risked jeopardising its hard-earned credibility.

According to the body, the refusal by INEC to issue Okorocha the certificate of return is an attempt to deprive the people of Imo West Senatorial District representation at the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly which, it stated, is in contravention of Article 13 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.

CASER cautioned INEC against allowing itself to be manipulated by politicians to foist chaos and confusion on the polity. It also advised the commission not to lend credence to the belief in international community that Nigeria had been reduced to a banana republic where the wish of a few people override the will of the majority.

It, therefore, enjoined INEC to toe the path of honour by issuing a certificate of return to Okorocha within seven days of receiving the letter.


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