By Elizabeth Chukwuma
Rochas Okorocha, a former governor of Imo state, regarded in political circles as an emperor, who ruled the state for eight years on the platform of the All Progressive Congress, APC . but handed over power to Emeka Ihedioha, a former Deputy Speaker House of Representatives on May 29, 2019, who won the last governorship election in the state and won, is not ready to remain politically jobless.
Okorocha had contested the February 23, 2019, National Assembly election on the platform of the APC, to represent the Imo West district, but was stopped by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on alleged irregularities. Prior to contesting the National Assembly election, he had wanted , Uche Nwosu, his son -In-law, to take over from him as the governor of the state but was outsmarted by the party national leadership led by Adams Oshiomhole, who threw their weight behind Hope Uzodinmma, a a Senator of Federal republic of Nigeria, thus making it impossible for him to have his Candidate as the next governor of the state.
It was not surprising why Mahmood Yakubu, a Professor and Chairman, INEC, issued the Certificate of return was issued to the Oyereri, the PDP , Candidate , amidst protest by the former governor. Aware that the only language that Nigerians who are in a position of Authority understands most was Court Order , he has headed to an Abuja High Court , presided over by Justice Okon Abang, to force the Commission to release his Certificate of Return.
The Imo state born politician had earlier told those that
He has obtained an injunction in the Abuja High Court as Justice Abang, had ruled based on the relevant information at her disposal that the former Imo state governor actually won the Imo West Senatorial district election and therefore should be issued with the Certificate of Return by INEC.
Many had expected that with that with the Court pronouncement , Yakubu, the INEC, Chairman, will rush to withdraw the Certificate of Return earlier issued to the PDP Candidate and transfer it to him but it was not done fueling speculations that his hope of being a lawmaker in the ninth National Assembly would remain a dashed hope,
An angry Okorocha who could not take it had argued that INEC, has no legal Authority to still withhold his Certificate of Return having being declared winner by competent Court of Law. But political watchers may want the former Imo state governor to know that President Muhammadu Buhari who, has given the Commission and other government Institutions power to do their job may have emboldened the Agency to take decisions without looking back.
The annulment of the election of the election of all APC, Candidates, in Zamfara state including that of the governor based on a Court ruling which gave victory to the PDP Candidates and any other party Candidate that came second in any of the state and Federal Constituencies , during the last general election speaks volumes.
Already the Commission has given the PDP Candidates Certificate of Return and Bello Matawalle, the party governorship Candidate, has already been sworn in. this should serve as warning to Okorocha, the immediate past Imo state governor, that he may not win the case in Court as the Commission says ”it will meet as soon as possible over the Order of the Abuja High Court to issue a Certificate of Return to Okorocha, the former Imo state governor.
Festus Okoye, a Lawyer, and National Commissioner in-charge of the Commission ‘s Information and Voter’s Education, noted that this may not be the first Court Order on the Imo West Senatorial election, showing how desperate Okorocha is to be a member of the upper legislative House. He cited the Order of the state High Court , presided over by Justice Njemanze, which directed the electoral umpire ”not to issue a Certificate of Return to any of the Candidates that contested the Imo West Senatorial district election.
According to him, the Abuja High Court Order was the” latest in time and determined the rights of the parties in relation to the subject matter of the Certificate of Return , in respect of the Imo West Senatorial Election”. The INEC top official who could not hide his feelings is worried that ”if electoral impunity is allowed to flourish , any individual can harass, intimidate and put the Commission’s officials under duress, procure a favourable declaration and be rewarded with a Certificate of Certificate of Return”.
He had alluded to Okorocha, who used force to procure favourable declaration, an indication that that INEC, may appeal against the court ruling to avoid giving room to politicians to follow the footstep of the former Imo state governor to procure favourable declaration in future election in the country. The Commission may have sent a signal to him that he may not be issued the Certificate of Return on a platter of gold without a legal battle which may terminate in the Supreme Court.
Ihedioha, may have made matters worse for the former governor by setting up an eight-man financial advisory Committee headed by Abraham Nwankwo, with a mandate to ascertain and document the locations and balances on all bank accounts operated by the last Administration , ministries, Departments and Agencies as at May 29, which many described as a robe of the Okorocha Administration, which may expose can of worms about the regime.
The Committee, according to Uche Onyeagucha, the Secretary to the state government , was also given the responsibility to review all the financial transactions of the government and where necessary ”carry out forensic audit”, with a view to ascertaining the sources of funds and application of same”. This is in addition to documenting ”revenues generated internally , subventions and allocations between 2011 and 2019 from the Federal government..
The Committee was said to have
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