An Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has relunctantly issued a certificate of return to Rochas Okorocha, senator-elect of Imo west, but vowing to appeal the court deciosn that ordered it to do so.
In a statement on Tuesday, INEC said it issued Okorocha the certificate in compliance with the order of a federal high court in Abuja, noting that the commission is committed to obeying court orders.
INEC had earlier expressed reservations over the court’s decision, saying “If electoral impunity is allowed to flourish, any individual can harass, intimidate and put the Commission’s officers under duress, procure a favourable declaration and be rewarded with a certificate of return.”
“The commission must put on record its very profound concerns about the likely consequences of this judgement for our electoral process in particular and democracy in general. Obviously, persons who seek elective offices could perceive in this judgement an irrelevance of due process and acting within the law.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the former Imo State governor was denied accreditation when he arrived the National Assembly Complex for inauguration of lawmakers.
INEC had refused to issue the certificate to Okorocha who was declared winner of the poll “under duress.”
While the federal high court in Abuja ordered it to issue Okorocha his certificate of return, two other courts in Imo state asked INEC not to issue.
However, Mr. Festus Okoye, INEC’s director of voter education and publicity, said the two court orders asking it not to issue any certificate of return to Okorocha were interim orders and not the final from the courts.