Buhari’s Group Cautions INEC Over Okorocha’s Certificate Of Return
1 year ago yakubu 0
The Southeast chapter of the Presidential Support Committee (PSC) and the South East Professionals have cautioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) against creating constitutional crisis by refusing to issue Certificate of Return to the Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha after being declared winner of the Imo West Senatorial election.
In a statement jointly signed by Emeka Ugwu Esq and Comrade, the groups accused INEC of assuming the investigative role of the Police and the Court by finding the governor guilty without opportunity for fair hearing.
According to the statement, “we have observed with keen interest the emerging political crisis and constitutional infraction emanating from the National Assembly elections and the Governorship elections, held on the 23rd day of February and the 9th day of March 2019 respectively. We intend to respond to the unconstitutionality and the illegality of the acts of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)”:
It continued that, “the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on the 23rd February, 2019 declared H.E Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha, through its Returning Officer, Professor Innocent Ibeabuchi, as winner, Imo West Senatorial District Election 2019 in the presence of all the Security Agencies and other Political Party Agents”.
The groups contended that, “under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Electoral Act, INEC lacks the power to withhold Certificate of Return in an election duly declared in line with the laws of the land or cancel an election that met the minimum requirement of the law.
“It is unfortunate that INEC has arrogated to itself the investigative powers of the Nigeria Police and other security Agencies, and the judiciary, by assuming the jurisdiction to illegally and unlawfully investigate the unfounded allegations of Prof. Innocent Ibeabuchi, who is alleged to be an Agent of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“It is quite worrisome that Prof. Francis Chukwuemeka Ezeonu (the Resident Electoral Commissioner) and Prof. Francis Otunta (the Returning Officer) could be used to cause havoc in Imo State by purportedly declaring Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha winner of the Governorship election without fulfilling the requirement of Section 179 (2 &3) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
The statement argued further that “the provisions of Section 179 (2&3) are clear and unambiguous, and any declaration made in breach of that section is unconstitutional, illegal, fraudulent, and cannot stand. That the fraudulent calculated and premeditated acts of the two Professors are targeted with the criminal intent to deliver Imo State to PDP.
“That from the results purportedly declared, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha did not meet the minimum requirement of Section 179 (2&3) as he did not secure the mandatory 25% votes casts in 18 out of the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State. Rt. Hon. Ihedioha only secured 13 local Government Areas Only.
” We are hereby calling on the National Chairman of INEC to remove the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Francis Ezeonu, and equally calling on the security agencies to investigate the two Professors, and possibly prosecute them for the act of criminality, which is capable of inciting public unrest.
“Imo State citizens are law abiding and should be allowed to freely elect their leaders. We therefore warn those inciting these criminal acts to desist henceforth from attacking the sensibilities of Imo Citizens.
“Finally, we call on INEC, as a matter of urgency, to issue a Certificate of Return to H.E. Owelle Rochas Okorocha as Senator-Elect, Imo West Senatorial District; and to conduct a runoff election in line with Section 179 (4) of the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria. In the event INEC refuses to do the needful by end of business Monday the 18th day of March, 2019, the streets of the five States of the South East will be lawfully occupied.