The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC on Tuesday issued a Certificate of Return to the embattled former Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha as winner of the recent election in Imo West Senatorial District District.
Shortly after collection of the certificate within INEC headquarters in Abuja, Okorocha told journalists that he was called upon at exactly 6.14 pm that his certificate was ready.
“At exactly 6.14 pm, this (Tuesday) evening, after the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly, I was invited that my certificate is ready and I have just gone to collect it. I take it to be God’s time. I have always believed that justice delayed is justice denied, but all for the sake of our nation, I accepted it”, he stated.
He commended the judiciary for doing the needful and for being the last resort for the common citizens or anybody who felt oppressed.
Okorocha said, “I also want to thank INEC for taking this bold step against all odds by issuing my Certificate of Return, which goes a long way to confirm that the allegation of duress is not founded by delay tactics by my detractors to have slowed down the process. I believe this is God’s time and I take it as God’s time. I am happy that finally the matter is resolved.”
When asked of his feeling about not being able to participate in the inauguration ceremony for the 9th National Assembly and the voting process which produced the leadership, Okorocha said that he would have to be in attendance of the inauguration.
“Otherwise I missed because I don’t have a certificate. Now that I have the certificate I have the opportunity to join my colleagues to see how to move Nigeria forward”, he stated.
INEC had denied Okorocha his Certificate of Return following an allegation by the Returning Officer he declared Okorocha winner the election under duress.
A Federal High Court in Abuja, however on Friday ordered INEC to issue him a Certificate of Return as Senator-elect representing Imo West Senatorial District.
Also in another judgement, a High Court of Imo State directed INEC not to issue a Certificate of Return to any of the candidates who contested the election.
The order from the High Court of Imo State was issued on May 23, 2019, while the case had been adjourned to June 26, 2019.