Former Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, was not sworn in as a senator with the rest of the nation’s senators-elect as his name was missing from the official list of the National Assembly.
The returning officer for Imo West senatorial zone, Innocent Ibeabuchi, had announced Okorocha the winner of the February 23, 2019 election with 97,762 votes.
However, the official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) disclosed that he announced the result under duress, alleging that he was detained by Okorocha’s supporters at the collation centre.
This led INEC to withhold Okorocha’s certificate of return as the commission’s chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, insisted that the commission will not issue any to a candidate declared winner under duress.
Last week, Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja ordered INEC to recognise the former governor as the senator-elect for Imo West senatorial district by issuing him a certificate of return.
The judge said Okorocha, whose tenure as governor ended last month, is entitled to the certificate as he was declared winner of the election, ruling that the issue of duress is unknown to both the Electoral Act and the 1999 Constitution.
However, since the ruling on Friday, June 7, INEC has not yet issued Okorocha a certificate of return as the commission announced that it would review the judgement on Tuesday, June 11.
Even though Okorocha joined other senators-elect at the National Assembly complex on Tuesday for the official inauguration of lawmakers, his name was still missing from the official list.
When the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, read out the roll call of eligible senators-elect, Okorocha’s name was not called, meaning he won’t get sworn in during the inaugural session that’s ongoing in the National Assembly complex.
A total of 107 senators-elect were on the roll call, just two short of the 109 total comprising three senators from each of the 36 states plus one from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The seat for the Imo East senatorial district also remains in dispute.
Of all 107 seats, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) won 62 while the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won 44 seats.
The Young Progressive Party (YPP) is the only other party outside of the two dominant ones inaugurated to the 9th Senate with only one seat.
Subscribe to our newsletter for more juicy updates