Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State says the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may be planning to organise a special event to issue him a Certificate of Return.
Okorocha stated this on the backdrop of the omission of his name from those that INEC issued Certificates of Return.
He stated this on Thursday in Abuja while speaking with newsmen in reaction to the development.
Okorocha was suspended from the All Progressives Congress (APC) on March 1 over alleged anti party activities by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).
Though he was said to have won the Imo West Senatorial election held on February 23, INEC omitted his name from those it issued Certificates of Return.
There have been speculations that Okorocha was declared winner of the election under duress by the Returning Officer.
Okorocha, while debunking the allegation, said some persons who are opposed to his victory are working to rig him out.
“Those behind the plot, are, however, not smart in executing the project to rig me and my son in-law who is the governorship candidate of the Action Alliance (AA) Uche Nwosu out,” he said.
Okorocha criticised INEC’s declaration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, as Imo Governor-elect, saying he fell short of the criteria.
He alleged that Ihedioha did not have the needed spread of 25 per cent votes across the Local Government Areas of the state as required by law to emerge winner.
He stressed that the PDP candidate could, therefore, not be declared winner of the poll.
“I am sure you are aware that I was conspicuously absent at the certificates issuance ceremony.
“I was not there because INEC has removed my name from the list of elected Senators, having been declared the winner by the zonal returning officer. I am actually waiting to hear why INEC struck my name out.
“I think probably, INEC must be trying to do something special, because I understand that once results have been declared and returns made, then you are bound to be issued a Certificate of Return,” he said.
He added that he was, however, in the dark as to why the commission exempted him from the ceremony and why he was not invited to collect his certificate.
“Maybe, INEC will want to organise a special programme for me to hand over the certificate to me, because clearly, I won and it was a peaceful election, the best you can ever think of,” he said.
He said the allegations in some quarters that he was declared winner under duress as claimed by the electoral officer could not be true.
“I do not understand what that means, because there was nothing of such. How can you put somebody on duress to declare you the winner of an election that you have already won?
“It is not true, but I must let the world understand that this is a game that is being played.
“The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Imo is playing a script, and the script is so funny, it is so cruel and crude actually and they are executing it in a funny way.
“I understand that people are beginning to fight a war of the future now when we are not even yet there.
“The idea is that, do not give Okorocha a certificate; you must slow him down until after they have elected the presiding officers in the Senate, then you can let him come in,”he said.
He added that the idea is to also ensure that he does not become anything in the Senate and to make sure that his governorship candidate, who is his son in-law, does not emerge winner.
Okorocha further added that his political opponents wanted to cripple him politically before 2023, saying that this is what is happening.
“I will advise INEC to do the right thing, to release my certificate so that I can celebrate as others, I want to be in the Senate, and it will be interesting if I am there,” Okorocha said.
He said INEC should not allow his political opponents to use it as an instrument to achieve their desires.