The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that it would only issue Certificate of Returns to Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State after a ruling on the matter pending at the federal High Court.
Governor Okorocha was the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 23 Imo West Senatorial election.
The commission withheld his certificate of returns after the Presiding Officer had declared him winner of the election.
INEC claimed the declaration was made under duress.
Okorocha is however, challenging INEC decision at the Federal High Court.
The governor, who is completing his second term in office later this month, had insisted in a petition that going by laws governing elections in the country, INEC had no right not to issue him a Certificate of Return.
The commission had recently promised to meet and deliberate on Okorocha’s latest letter and take a final decision on the issue.
But speaking in a telephone interview with BusinessDay, Monday, Festus Okoye, INEC Commissioner for information and voter education, however, revealed that such meeting had been called off.
Okoye said that since both parties were in court over the issue, the commission had decided to wait for a final judgment on the matter, stressing that the commission was however, ready to respect the decision of the court.
According to him, “There is no meeting that would be held on the issue. Okorocha has gone to the Federal High Court on the issue, and some parties have also gone to the election tribunal, so we have decided to wait for a final judgment.
“The commission will wait for the judgment of the court, we do not have powers to take decision on his Certificate of Returns, nor can we be intimidated.”
The INEC Commissioner further stated that Okorocha’s opponent and other parties in theFebruary 23 election, had gone to the tribunal to challenge the result of the Senatorial election and had also written to the commission to issue him with Certificate of Return.
“There are other parties that have also written that they should be join in this suit, they have also gone to the tribunal to challenge the result, they have asked us not to issue him with the Certificate of Return,” Okoye added.
He further revealed that the commission have fixed June 1 for the commencement of the review of the 2019 general election.
He added that the review would involve meeting with political parties, the media and civil societies on the conduct of the elections in view to aggregating issues towards improving the electoral process and future elections.