The outgoing governor of Imo State Rochas Okorocha has lamented that the evil he was running away from in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has caught up with and “befallen me ten times in the APC” since he joined the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Mr. Okorocha said this at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja, hinting that he remains a staunch member of the APC despite efforts to “frustrate him out of the party”.
He fingered Adams Oshimhole, national chairman of the APC, and some other leaders of working with INEC as those behind his failure to get his certificate of return as senator-elect.
Okorocha said, “The evil I feared in the PDP has befallen me ten times in the APC. Last week, I wrote a letter to INEC for the first time myself, informing INEC of their wrongdoings and illegal actions taken by INEC to withhold my certificate on mere allegations of duress which was never founded, neither was there any committee set up to investigate the matter,”Okorocha said.
“So, INEC on their own believe the reports of their returning officer without investigating the authenticity of the investigation. So, there was no issue of fair hearing at all.
“What is important here is that INEC does not have the power to withhold the certificate of return having declared the result. I believe the INEC chairman is up to a game with the chairman of the APC who is being used to frustrate my coming to the senate and this is politically motivated.
“I’ve given enough time that INEC might correct itself and do the needful and issue me my certificate of return but to no avail.”
The governor accused Mr. Festus Okoye, a national commissioner of INEC, of being used as the “hatchet man” against him.
“I wonder what they want to do with the certificate, if they don’t give it to me, who will they give it to? Maybe they will give it to Festus Okoye because he is from my Senatorial zone but what they are doing is presenting INEC as a lying organisation and that is dangerous for our democracy because, as it stands right now, the image of INEC is bastardised.
“What it means is that tomorrow somebody can withhold the certificate of anybody because you don’t like his face because you feel that he wants to politically challenge you in future.”
Okorocha had defected from the PDP to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), from where he later joined the APC after winning the 2011 governorship election.
INEC had refused to issue him a certificate of return as the senator-elect for Imo West because Prof. Francis Ibeawuch, the returning officer for the election, had saiid on live television that he declared Okorocha winner “under duress.”