Protesters on Wednesday, besieged the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to demand the immediate release of the Certificate of Return of Imo Governor Rochas Okorocha.
This is even as they gave the Commission up till Monday to release the certificate or they (the group) will mobilise one million Nigerians to occupy the headquarters of INEC.
Okorocha contested the Imo North senatorial elections and was declared winner by the Returning Officer who then turned around to say he announced the result under duress.
Based on the allegation by the Returning Officer, INEC therefore decided to hold on to the Certificate, stressing that ‘INEC only issue certificate to people who genuinely won elections’.
However the group in a protest letter signed by Olisaemeka Onyeka, APC South East Zonal Youth Leader and five other youth leaders said the INEC had no right to hold on to the certificate.
They insisted that the result was announced in the presence of security agencies, other party officials as well as the media, adding that there was no sign of intimidation or duress.
“We are writing this letter to protest the decision of INEC to withheld the certificate of return of the Executive Govornor of Imo State His Excellency Owelle Rochas Okorocha winner of the Imo North Senatorial District.
“At the concluded National Assembly, the returning officer had declared Govornor Okorocha winner of Imo North Senatorial District after the election on February 23rd and a supplementary election on March 9th.
“It however came as a surprise when same commission alleged that the announcement was made under duress.
“Specifically, the returning officer announced Governor Okorocha winner of the National Assembly election in the presence of all security agencies, print and traditional media and INEC’S spokesperson who was also at the venue.
“We again remind the INEC that once declaration was made by an election returning officer, the commission has no right to withholds the winner ‘s certificate of return,” the group said.
They urged the Commission to reconsider its decision as the continuous withholding of His Excellency Governor Okorocha ‘s certificate of return has the capacity to fuel tension in the state.
Reacting to the protest, Mr Kelechi Madumene, an Assistant Director in the Commission, while commending the protesters for a ‘peaceful’ protest, informed them that the matter was already in court.
He said that it would amount to subjudice to as much as comment on the matter that was already before the court of law.
He however assured them that the commission will do the right thing within the dictates of the law.