Imo state governor, Anayo Rochas Okorocha was yesterday denied certificate of return by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
INEC had presented certificates of return to the 102 Senators and 338 House of Representative members that won the February 23 election.
However, as reported in the Nigerian Pilot yesterday, the name of Rochas Okorocha was missing from the list of those that were issued with certificate of return.
Okorocha was accused by the Resident Electoral Commissioner of Imo state of forcing him to announce the result under duress.
He had accused INEC of allowing itself to be used by parties who are afraid of his presidential ambition for 2023.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja shortly after the event, Okorocha accused some unnamed forces in the ruling party of trying to stop him.
“I am sure I was conspicuously absent from the certificates issuance ceremony.
“I was not there because INEC had removed my name from the list of senators having been declared the winner by the zonal returning officer. So, 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 once results have been declared and returns made then you are bound to be issued a certificate of return but to have exempted me.
“I am in darkness as to what was the reason why I was not invited to collect my certificate of return. Maybe, INEC would want to organize a special programme for me to hand over this certificate of return to me because clearly, I won and it was a peaceful election, the best you can ever think of.
“I am told from the grapevine that it was because of duress. In other words, somebody must have coerced the returning officer to do what he was not supposed to do but here again; I do not understand what that means because there was nothing of such.
“How can you put somebody under duress to declare you the winner of an election that you have already won?
“And look, they are not saying that we did not win. They are not saying that the other man won. So, I do not understand why we should be the people forcing someone to do something wrong to claim victory.
“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 state 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 and I am surprised that INEC is being used as an instrument for those who find it politically difficult to achieve what they want to do.”