The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has again insisted that Rochas Okorocha would not be issued a certificate of return.
Speaking in Awka, the Anambra State capital, Festus Okoye, INEC’s Commissioner, Information and Voter Education, said the electoral agency only issues certificates to people who won elections free and fair.
INEC had refused to issue the certificate on the basis that the result for Imo West senatorial district was declared “under duress”.
According to Okoye, Okorocha and three others so affected would not be issued certificates of return unless a court decides otherwise.
He said the commission’s decision “does not amount to shifting goal post at the middle of a match”.
He continued: “Issuance of certificates of return is a statutory function of INEC; it is only issued to those who won election and must be done through the free will of a returning officer.
“In the case of Imo West senatorial district, where Okorocha contested, the Otu-Opi Federal Constituency in Benue, Agayi State Constituency and another in Akwa Ibom; what INEC is saying is that you can’t engage in bad electoral behaviour and expect INEC to reward you with a certificate. Our certificate is only for those who won freely.
“Once we have such case, INEC will not issue certificate, but ensure that the right thing is done.
He, however, added that if the cases instituted against the commission by the affected candidates on the matter decided otherwise, INEC would comply.