After days, weeks and months of dilly dallying, and hours after the take off of the 9th Assembly, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, finally issued controversial former Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, his Certificate of Return to the Senate.
An obviously excited and enchanted Okorocha who chatted with the media after being handed his certificate said he was told at exactly 6.14 p.m. that the certificate was ready.
“At exactly 6.14 pm, this evening, after the inauguration of the 9th Assembly, I was invited to collect my certificate and I have just come to collect it”, he began, beaming with smiles and adjusting his agbada and also with his son in law and defeated Imo governorship candidate, Uche Nwosu, standing behind him.
“I also want to thank INEC for taking this bold step against all odds by issuing my certificate of return, which goes a long way to confirming that the allegation of duress is unfounded but a delay tactic by my detractors to slow down the process.“I believe this is God’s time and I take it as God’s time. I am happy that finally the matter is resolved.”
On not taking part in the inauguration ceremony of the 9th National Assembly, he confessed:” Yes, I missed it because I did not have a certificate.
“Now that I have the certificate, I have opportunity to join my colleagues to see how to move Nigeria forward.
“I belong in the APC and I believe there is nothing wrong with the party, but its management.
” I will not stop being an APC member because of somebody. I came into APC alone and I am in the party. I believe in the party. It will be good to say that time will tell.
“I have also decided to see the possibility of free education at all levels in Nigeria, so that ordinary people, the poor can have access to education,” he ended.
Okorocha, it would be recalled, was one of the two senators absent at the inauguration of the 9th Assembly, where 107 other senators elected Ahmad Lawan as Senate President and Ovie Omo-Agege as Deputy Senate President. The trio belong to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
INEC had alleged that Okorocha was declared winner of the election under duress. Which he has continued to deny and distance himself from.
The Federal High Court in Abuja , however, on Friday ordered INEC to issue him a Certificate of Return as senator-elect representing Imo West Senatorial district.
Justice Okon Abang, who presided over the matter, had insisted that INEC had no justifiable reason to do so.