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Court orders INEC to issue Certificate of Return to Rochas

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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Reprieve finally came to the immediate-past governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, as court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to issue a Certificate of Return to the former.

The governor is to represent Imo West Senatorial district.

Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja ruled that having been declared by the Returning Officer as the winner of the February 23 Senatorial Election for Imo West Senatorial District (Orlu Zone), INEC has no reason not to issue his certificate of return.

The court ruled that the decision to deprive Okorocha of the certificate was a “lawless decision.”

The judge held that only the returning officer of the INEC had the constitutional authority to declare a winner.

He held that any person declared a winner by the returning officer remains a winner until petitioners succeed in upturning the declaration at the election tribunal.

The court further ruled that Mr Okorocha had no business being the originator of the petition at the election tribunal.

Justice Abang, who ruled that the federal high court had exclusive jurisdiction to decide on the matter, described INEC’s decision as “lawless and a complete nullity.”

The electoral body had said it refused to give Okorocha certificate of return after the returning officer for Imo West senatorial district said he was compelled to declare Okorocha winner.

NAN

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