Rochas Okorocha, Imo State governor, believes he was denied the Certificate of Return as the senator for the Imo West Senatorial District to cripple him politically ahead of the 2023 battle.
He also said that the “gang-up” against his preferred governorship candidate in the March 9 election, Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance (AA), was part of the grand plot.
The governor accused the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Imo State of acting a script which he described as being cruel.
Speaking with reporters at the Imo Governor’s Lodge in the Asokoro Area of Abuja, Okorocha said he was sure that denying him the certificate “is aimed at ensuring that he does not become one of the principal officers of the Senate when it is inaugurated.”
According to him, he was awaiting an explanation from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on why he was not invited for the collection of the certificate by senators-elect and House of Representatives members-elect.
He said: “The law stipulates that once a candidate has been declared winner, he must receive his certificate or return.
“I am sure I was conspicuously absent from the certificates issuance ceremony. I was not there because INEC has removed my name from the list of senators having been declared the winner by the zonal returning officer.
“So, I am actually waiting to hear why INEC struck my name out. I think probably, INEC must be trying to do something special because I understand once results have been declared and returns made then you are bound to be issued a certificate of return.
“But to have exempted me, I am in the dark as to what was the reason I was not invited to collect my certificate of return. Maybe, INEC would want to organise a special programme for me to hand over this certificate of return because clearly, I won and it was a peaceful election, the best you can ever think of.
“I am told from the grapevine that it was because of duress. In other words, somebody must have coerced the returning officer to do what he was not supposed to do but here again; I do not understand what that means because there was nothing of such.
“How can you put somebody under duress to declare you the winner of an election that you have already won? And look, they are not saying that we did not win. They are not saying that the other man won.
“So, I do not understand why we should be the people forcing someone to do something wrong to claim victory. It is not true but I must let the world understand that this is a game that is being played.”