Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, on Wednesday said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) lacked the authority to withhold his certificate of return.
Okorocha said this when some of his supporters trooped to the government house to protest the conduct of the general elections.
The returning officer for the state, Prof Francis Ibeawuchi, had said he pronounced Okorocha winner of the Imo West senatorial election under duress, prompting INEC to withhold his certificate of return.
“I wonder why INEC will withhold my certificate for a frivolous reason, without hearing from me. I am not a violent person and those who know me know that.
“This is why we have peace in Imo state. The Returning Officer could not have done that under duress under the watchful eyes of the Police, DSS and party agents. I am not unmindful of the fact that those who are fighting me from Abuja are anxious to see me removed as a senator. I urge INEC to do the right thing immediately by releasing my certificate.
“Let me tell every Nigerian that I fought no one and no one should fight me. If anyone fights me, he will be the loser at the end of it all. My INEC Certificate cannot be touched or seized, doing so is belittling democracy in Nigeria. It is only the tribunal that has the right to say otherwise once a result is declared.
“INEC cannot seize my certificate by mere petition written by somebody in a case I was not given the opportunity to present my own side of the story,” Okorocha said.
He also rejected the declaration of Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of Imo governorship election.