NEWS FLAKES NG gathers that outgoing Imo governor, Rochas Okorocha appears to be in more troubles as he’s yet to be officially recognised as a senator-elect.
About a week ago, the governor was also suspended by his party, the APC.
The name of Mr Okorocha, the outgoing governor of Imo State, was excluded from the list of senators-elect published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday.
The commission in a post on its official website said it will issue certificates of return to all “successful candidates in 2019 National Assembly elections” on Thursday at the International Conference Centre in Abuja.
INEC noted that only senators-elect as listed on the commission’s website are invited for the ceremony.
Mr Okorocha contested to represent Imo West Senatorial District in the February 23 election.
Though the returning officer, Innocent Ibeabuchi, declared Mr Okorocha winner after a controversial collation of results, he clearly noted he did so “under duress”.
“…I have been held hostage here for days so I’m trying to ease off and take my life home back to my children and for the sake of that I am calling these results under duress,” Mr Ibeabuchi had said before reading out the results.
In INEC’s list of senators-elect, Mr Okorocha’s name was omitted.
“Declaration made under duress”, was boldly written instead.
Our source reported how Mr Ibeabuchi, a professor, refused to complete collation of the three remaining LGAs in Imo West at the INEC office in Orlu.
The official said he received an urgent call from the state’s Resident Electoral Commission (REC), Francis Ezeonu, to return to Owerri and continue the process Monday morning.
But Mr Okorocha’s supporters insisted the returning officer “must complete” the announcement.
They blocked the professor from leaving the building but Mr Ibeabuchi stuck to his guns until he was ‘forced’ to declare the results Monday morning.
In the declaration made “under duress”, Mr Ibeabuchi said the governor who ran under the All Progressives Congress (APC) polled 97,762 votes and Jones Onyeriri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) came second with 63,117 votes.
Mr Okorocha’s rival and a former senator, Osita Izunaso, came third with 30,932 votes.
Meanwhile, the governor accepted the controversial results, describing the Returning Officer “as a bloody liar who may be acting a script.”
But Mr Okorocha’s opponents rejected the results, insisting the elections be cancelled because “there was no return since the returning officer was ‘forced’ to make the declaration.”
The elder’s forum of Imo West (Orlu) also disagreed with the governor.
They commended the returning officer “for his resilience in standing against impunity with all the pressure to go against his conscience.”
As at the time of this report, Mr Okorocha was still battling to ensure his preferred candidate emerges governor-elect in Imo. Mr Okorocha supports his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, of the Action Alliance to succeed him. Mr Nwosu was trailing Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party in results declared so far as at the time of this report.