An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has declared as illegal, the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to present former Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, with a certificate of return as senator-elect.
According to the presiding judge, Okon Abang, the “action of INEC not to issue certificate of return is unknown to the Constitution and the Electoral Act.”
He ruled that only the returning officer of INEC had the constitutional authority to declare a winner and that the 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.
Mr 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 Mr Okorocha certificate of return after the returning officer for Imo West senatorial district said he was compelled to declare Mr Okorocha winner.