9th Assembly: Why Okorocha Was Denied Accreditation – Clerk, INEC
The Clerk of the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, has explained the reason why Owelle Rochas Okorocha was denied accreditation at the National Assembly, Abuja.
ND REPORTERS had reported that Okorocha, immediate past Governor of Imo State, was denied accreditation as Senator-elect at the NASS complex, on Tuesday.
ND REPORTERS NASS correspondent reports that the controversial Imo politician arrived the three arms zone at about 7:45.am ahead of the today’s inauguration and election of principal officers of both legislative chamber.
He was however denied accreditation by National Assembly management led by the Clerk.
Though the reason behind the decision was not made public. Our correspondent, however, learnt it may not be unconnected with the Court cases involving the former governor.
Speaking on the development, the Clerk, Mohammed Sani-Omolori said the management took the decision due to a pending court case as regards the Imo West Senatorial District election.
He reminded ND REPORTERS that the management had taken a similar decision in a case involving Delta North Senatorial District.ND REPORTERS recalls that Ned Nwoko was similarly denied accreditation following a court ruling which held that incumbent Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, is the rightful candidate for the election.
“That is the proper thing to do since his case is inchoate”, said Clerk Sani-Omolori.
ND REPORTERS recalls that Okorocha, who was declared winner of the Imo West Senatorial District, was denied Certificate of Return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
But a Federal High Court in Abuja last week ordered that Okorocha be given his return certificate.
However, checks by ND REPORTERS on Tuesday morning showed that INEC is yet to comply with the court ruling.
When contacted, INEC National Commissioner on Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye toldND REPORTERS that the commission is awaiting a pending court case before taking a decision.
He reminded ND REPORTERS that a High Court in Imo had restrained the commission from issuing Okorocha with a Certificate, and adjourned till June 26.
Okoye however added that the Commission will meet today on the matter.
“The Commission has been served with the order of a High Court in Imo State, presided over by Hon. Justice Njemanze, directing the Commission not to issue a Certificate of Return to any of the candidates that contested the Imo West Senatorial District election. The Order from the High Court of Imo State was issued on 23rd May 2019 and the suit has been further adjourned to 26th June 2019”, he said.
Okoye added: “Issuance of Certificate of Return is a statutory function of the INEC. It is only issued to those who do elections and must be done through the free will of a Returning Officer.
“In the case of Imo West Senatorial District, where Okorocha contested, the Otu-Opi Federal Constituency in Benue, Agayi State Constituency and another in Akwa Ibom, what INEC is saying is that you can’t engage in bad electoral behaviour and expect INEC to reward you with a certificate.
“Our certificate is only for those who won freely.”
With the latest development, Okorocha won’t be able to attend today’s inauguration, nor will he be able to vote for any candidate.