Certificate of Return: INEC reacts to Okorocha’s expectation of ‘special ceremony’
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reacted to a statement credited to Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State that the commission was planning a special ceremony for him to present his certificate of return since he was not invited with the others who received theirs last week.
The commission responding by saying there was no special ceremony prepared for anybody whose name did not appear on its list of successful candidates in the 2019 general elections.
“There is no special ceremony for anybody. I think we should get that one quite clear. Anybody thinking otherwise will be living in fool’s paradise,” said Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, INEC’s director of Voter Education and Publicity during a programme on Channel Television Monday.
Osaze-Uzzi was asked to respond to a comment by Rochas Okorocha.
Okorocha, Imo State’s outgoing governor, had questioned INEC’s decision to remove his name from the list of elected senators. He suggested that the commission might have been preparing a special event to issue him his certificate of return.
Okorocha was declared the winner of the Imo West senatorial election. The presiding officer, however, said he was forced to make the declaration.
Okorocha was conspicuously absent on Thursday when INEC issued certificates of return to senators’ elect.
“I was not there because INEC has removed my name from the list of elected Senators… I am actually waiting to hear why INEC struck my name out,” Leadership Newspaper quoted Mr Okorocha as saying after the event.
“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.”
Reacting Monday, the INEC official said the governor was in the best position to answer the question he raised
“As far as we are concerned, we have presented certificates to those due to get certificates and for those who could not come for one reason or the other, we will still present theirs to them if they are yet to receive,” he said.
Osaze-Uzzi said when a declaration is made under duress, “I don’t think there will be a second ballot. The return officer and the commission will take a decision and we will alert the public when the time is apt for that.”