11th March, 2019
Imo governor Rochas Okorocha has not been recognised as a senator-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The stance of the electoral umpire was reflected in the list of senators published on its website on Monday.
Okorocha’s name was conspicuously missing in Box 47, where his name ought to have been printed. Instead, INEC put an ominous note: “Declaration made under duress’, an accusation that dogged Okorocha’s victory two weeks ago for the Imo West senate seat.
The commission will on Thursday in Abuja present all senators-elect with certificates of return and has sternly warned that anyone whose name fails to appear on the list, is not invited.
“Only members – elect as listed on the Commission’s website are invited to the ceremony”, the commission said.
The commission has invited 63 elected APC Senators, 37 PDP Senators and one YPP Senator to the event slated to hold at the Africa Hall of the International Conference Centre, Abuja at 9.30 am.
There are 109 members of the Senate, the upper chamber of the legislature. INEC indicated that supplementary elections would be conducted in seven out of the yet-to-be-filled slots.
INEC also indicated that it is awaiting the court decision to determine the person elected as senator to represent Bauchi South.
However, the commission did not indicate how it would resolve the Imo West Senatorial seat, between Okorocha and the PDP candidate John Onyeriri.
Professor I. Ibeabuchi, the returning officer for the election held on 23 February had said that he was “forced” to declare Rochas Okorocha winner of the Imo West Senatorial election.
Ibeabuchi said he stopped the collation after announcing nine out of the 12 local governments in the district, saying he had been directed to “return to Owerri, the state capital.”
The electoral official claimed he was held up at the collation centre by supporters of Okorocha who insisted he must complete the announcement.
All the listed senators were asked to come with a photo Identification, such as driver’s licence, national ID card, Permanent Voter’s card or International passport.
INEC also planned to present certificates of return to elected members of the House of Representatives later on Thursday at the same venue.