The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has given the only condition under which it will issue a certificate of return to Rochas Okorocha, governor of Imo state.
At a press conference in Abuja, Festus Okoye, chairman of INEC information and voter education committee, said the commission will issue a certificate of return to Okorocha if directed by the court to do so.
Francis Ibeawuchi, returning officer for Imo west senatorial election, had announced Okorocha as winner of the poll.
But INEC declined to give Okorocha a certificate of return because Ibeawuchi said he declared him winner under duress.
This prompted Okorocha to sue the commission. In a suit filed at a federal high court in Abuja, the governor asked the court to rule that INEC has no power to withhold his certificate of return and to grant an order mandating the commission to issue it to him.
When asked to comment on the matter, Okoye said the commission’s stance that it will not reward bad conduct remains the same.
He said: “The position of the commission has not changed. The position of the commission is that we will not issue certificate of return to Governor Rochas Okorocha in relation to the senatorial election.
“Since the matter is already in court, the best thing to do is not to prejudge the matter that is in court, but to allow the judicial processes to run through.
“If at the end of the day, the court gives an order that we should give him his certificate of return, of course, the commission will obey such a court order.
“If on the other hand, the court takes a different position and makes other consequential orders in relation to the conduct of the elections in Imo West, we will also comply with whatever order the court gives.
“As of today, the matter is pending in court, the best thing to do is to wait for the outcome of the judicial process.”