Trouble may not be over yet for former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, over his Certificate of Return as winner of the Imo West Senatorial District election held on February 23, 2019.
This is as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has vowed to challenge in court, the issuance of the certificate to him.
Following court order, INEC, issued the certificate to Okorocha on Tuesday, despite its objection.
INEC had accused Okorocha of forcing the Returning Officer during the election to announce him as the winner.
It therefore withheld his certificate until the court gave a contrary order.
In a statement issued by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Mr Festus Okoye, in Abuja, INEC said it issued the certificate in respect of the order of an Abuja Federal High Court that directed it to do so.
He explained that INEC took the decision after considering 14 memoranda involving judgments and orders in pre-election matters relating to the issuance of certificates and or withdrawal of certificates already issued in pre-election matters.
“Amongst the memoranda considered, is the one concerning the judgment on the Imo West Senatorial district by the Federal High Court in Abuja.
“The Commission decided to comply with the court judgment by issuing a certificate of return to the plaintiff, Rochas Okorocha in compliance with the judgment and Orders of Hon. Justice Okon Abang.
“It will also appeal against the said judgment.”
He stated further: “However, the commission must put on record its very profound concerns about the likely consequences of this judgment for our electoral process in particular and our democracy in general.
“Obviously, persons who seek elective offices can perceive in this judgment an irrelevance of due process and acting within the law.
“It is not far-fetched that some of them can in future disregard laid down processes, including voting, arm themselves and mobilise thugs and compel Returning Officers to declare them elected, irrespective of the true outcomes of elections.
“Moreover, it may become increasingly difficult for the commission to convince its officials that they are safe to carry out their legitimate functions without fear of being harassed, held to ransom or visited with bodily harm.”