The embattled outgoing Governor of Imo State and APC senate candidate for Imo West senatorial district in the just concluded general elections and whose Certificate of Return, as a declared winner is being withheld by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and who subsequently hastily approached an Abuja Federal High Court praying that INEC be directed to release the Certificate of Return without further delay had last Tuesday, April 30, 2019, rushed to the High Court to inquire from the court Registrar why his matter has not come up for expeditious hearing.

It would be recalled that following a petition by some of the defendants in the said suit against the former presiding Judge, Justice Taiwo which led to the resignation of the Judge, the Acting Chief Justice of the federation, Justice Tanko Mohammed, re-assigned the case to another Judge Abang also of, Abuja Court who in turn has slated the suit for hearing on May 8, 2019.

It is based on the frustration caused by the supposed delay in the discharge of the suit that the embittered and embattled outgoing Governor Rochas Okorocha, of Imo state has sent in an 11 page petition to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which is indisputably the 1st defendant in his suit that is presently subsisting in the Abuja Court, thus begging that his Certificate of Return be issued to him.

In the very lengthy petition captioned, “need to avert abuse of office and political corruption by my political opponents with the active collaboration of INEC’s leadership in clear violation of the law”, Chief Okorocha advanced several reasons and cited several sections of the law and authorities that warrant mandatory issuance of Certificate of the Return, to him.

In the introductory part of his petition, Okorocha claimed that ,“before my venture into the murky waters of Nigeria politics, I had been a successful businessman, philanthropist and a detribalized Nigerian of note”, and that without being immodest, “my records speak for me across the length and breathe of the country”.

Delving into the issue at stake, Okorocha narrated how he contested for and won the Imo West senatorial election seat during the March 2019 election and how the INEC officials have failed to issue him a Certificate of Return on the grounds that the Returning Officer, who declared him winner of the election said he did so “under duress”. Okorocha claimed that it was a joke when he read the news on social media and traditional media outfits, claiming that he had not been known to be a man of violence, or brigandage, thuggery or questionable character and unclear background.

He claimed that he had earlier stated his own version of the story and had expected the confusion to cause INEC to set up an investigation committee on the matter but they did not do so, but the police did, and proved him innocent, hence he resorted to the court of competent jurisdiction to seek redress.

Okroocha took time to narrate that his ordeal emanated from his party, All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership, some of whom he had earlier had some political differences and named; the party Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, who was working hand in gloves with members of the opposition in Imo state in a desperate bid to undo him politically, and to his ultimate surprise this has been the cause of his dilemma.

However, Okorocha after the very long narrative and historical background of his predicament and citing several legal authorities in past Tribunal and High Court cases averred that except for political expediency and manifestations, the commission has no power to reverse or question a declaration of result or election outcome by a Returning Officer on election by administrative means.

He stated the attempt by the commission under the leadership of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to act unilaterally because of the position he occupies as in-human, callous and highly reprehensible.

At the end of the lengthy and verbose petition, Chief Rochas Okorocha hoped that the commission will decide at once to shun this clear case of political corruption and abuse of office and rise to act in defence of equity with, and justice by releasing his Certificate of Return without further delay.

It will be recalled that while INEC initially stated that they were still studying the reported case of obtaining result under duress and at gun point and officially claimed by the Returning Officer, Prof. Ibeawuchi, a hysterical, impatient and hallucination resorted to the court to seek an order that will possibly force INEC to give him a Certificate of Return.

According to INEC legal Officer, for as long as the case is in court, its hands are tied since there is no way they will act in contempt or subjudice. It is therefore an exercise in futility for Okorocha to petition the same INEC he dragged to court without waiting for court verdict over the matter. It smacks of lack of confidence in the judiciary, which Okorocha abused.