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Certificate of return: Okorocha’s name missing among senators-elect

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The name of outgoing Imo State governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, was missing from the list of senators-elect published on the website of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). INEC, in a statement last night, said certificate of return would be issued to senators and members of House of Representatives elect on Thursday in Abuja.

The statement which was signed by Rose Orianran- Anthony, Secretary to the Commission, said “Only memberselect as listed on the commission’s website (www. inecnigeria.org) are invited to the ceremony.” Unfortunately, only Onyewuchi Ezenwa Francis (Imo East), was the only senator-elect listed for Imo State.

However, Ben Uwajumobi, was on Sunday declared as senator-elect for Imo North, after a supplementary election conducted by INEC on Saturday. INEC has conducted supplementary elections in seven senatorial districts on Saturday, in some states where the February 23 National Assembly election was declared inconclusive.

Okorocha’s declaration as senator-elect for Imo West was marred by controversy. The returning officer for Imo West in the February 23 presidential and National Assembly elections, Innocent Ibeabuchi, alleged that he declared the governor winner under duress. According to him, he was held by the governor and his supporters at the collation centre in Orlu and “forced” to declare Okorocha winner of the election. INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on Thursday last week, warned that the commission would not issue a certificate of return to any politician who was  declared winner under duress.

The commission is yet to issue an official statement on Okorocha’s status. The letter of invitation to senators and House of Representative memberselect for the presentation of certificate of return, requested them “to come along with photo identification, such as Permanent Voter’s Card, Nigerian Driver’s License, National Identity Card or International Passport.”



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