Imo state governor and the Senatorial candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Owelle Rochas Okorocha, has said he was not given his certificate of return on Thursday due to conspiracy from some people fighting him ahead of his 2023 presidential ambition.
The governor, however appealed to Professor Mahmood Yakubu-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to allow itself to be used.
He asked INEC to quickly issue him his certificate of return.
Okorocha was not issued the certificate of retun like other winners at the National Assembly elections, saying the governor was declared as winner under duress.
But speaking with newsmen in his Asokoro lodge, Okorocha said he was actually waiting for genuine reasons on why the INEC struck out his name from from the list of senatorial election winners.
“I was conspicuously absent from the certificates issuance ceremony. I was not there because INEC has 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 on 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.”
When asked on how he felt that he was not given the certificate of retun on Thursday like others, Okorocha said: “The idea is that, do not give Rochas a certificate; you must slow him down until after they have elected the presiding officers, then you can let him come in, so that he does not become anything and make sure that his candidate for governor does not win and then make sure that he is crippled politically before 2023.
“That is what is happening and it is very childish. I do not see why somebody can be thinking that way and these are people that earned my respect and they are behaving in that manner. So, I will advise INEC to do the right thing, to release my certificate so that I can celebrate as others are celebrating.”