Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for ‘withholding’ his Certificate of Return as the senator-elect for Imo West Senatorial District.
Okorocha on Wednesday filed the suit with number FHC/ABJ/CS/296/2019 before the Federal High Court in Abuja. The governor is asking the court to compel INEC to recognize him as the duly elected senator for the senatorial district and issue him with his certificate.
THE WHISTLER had reported how Okorocha’s name was conspicuously missing from the list of senators-elect recently released by the commission. The electoral umpire had issued other senators-elect with their certificates but denied the governor his own.
According to INEC, Okorocha’s name was removed from the list of senators-elect because its returning officer in the election declared the governor winner “under duress”.
Meanwhile, in his suit, Okorocha argued that INEC lacked the statutory powers to withhold his certificate, just as he asked the court to declare that the commission erred in withholding his certificate.
The governor’s suit against INEC was filed on his behalf by his team of lawyers led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Kehinde Ogunwumiju.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the said court has fixed April 5 to hear the suit.
Meanwhile, Okorocha’s ongoing battle to make it to the 9th senate is coming amid his suspension from his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
THE WHISTLER had reported that the National Working Committee of the APC suspended the governor for anti-party activities and recommended his expulsion to the National Executive Council of the party.
Okorocha’s suspension was premised on his open support for his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, who had defected from the APC to the Action Alliance (AA) after losing the governorship ticket of the ruling party to Senator Hope Uzodinma.
Both Nwosu and Uzodinma however lost the Imo governorship election to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Emeka Ihedioha, who was a deputy speaker of the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2015.