Appeal Court Affirms Okorocha’s Election As Senator

Okorocha Sets Up 21-Member Transition Committee
A file photo of Senator Rochas Okorocha.

 

 

The Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, the Imo State capital has upheld the election of Senator Rochas Okorocha as the lawmaker representing Imo West district.

Justice R. Ada who chaired a panel of judges in the case read the judgement on Thursday.

The court, however, held that the appeals filed by Senator Osita Izunaso of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Jones Onyereri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lacked merit.

READ ALSO: Appeal Court Affirms El-Rufai’s Election As Kaduna Governor

Both men had challenged the election of the former governor who contested the February 23 election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The appellate court, however, ruled that the judgement of the Election Petitions Tribunal which upheld Senator Okorocha’s election was in order.

It noted that the petitioners were unable to prove their allegations of over-voting, mutilation of electoral results, violence, and the hijacking of electoral officers.

The court added the allegation of declaring the results under duress as claimed by the returning officer in the poll could not be proved.

Imo West: Tribunal Dismisses Petition Challenging Okorocha’s Victory

 

The election petition tribunal has dismissed petitions filed by candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Jones Onyeriri, and that of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Osita Izunaso, challenging the victory of Senator Rochas Okorocha in the February 23 National Assembly election for Imo West Senatorial District.

Both parties in the petitions, said that the election for the Imo West Senatorial district was marred by irregularities, including intimidation and violence.

The tribunal however held that the petitioners were unable to prove the allegations.

READ ALSO: Tribunal Sacks Ebonyi PDP Lawmaker Lazarus Ogbee

Senator Okorocha was issued a certificate of return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in June, after months of allegations and counter allegations by INEC and Okorocha.

This followed a judgement by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja who ordered the INEC, to immediately issue the Certificate of Return to Okorocha, on the grounds that Okorocha had been declared the winner of the election, and INEC no longer had any legal authority to withhold a certificate of return due to him.

‘Okorocha Is Suffering From Withdrawal Syndrome’ – Onyeagocha

 

The Secretary to the Imo State Government, Mr Uche Onyeagocha has said that former Governor Rochas Okorocha is finding it difficult to come to terms with the fact that he is no longer governor of the state. 

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, Mr Onyeagocha argued that if Okorocha was not still fixated on being at the helm of affairs in Imo State, then he would by now have turned his attention to the development of the zone which he represents in the National Assembly, other than turning all attention to the governorship seat.

He said, “I wish to remind the people of Nigeria that the truth is that former Governor Telbert Okorocha is suffering from withdrawal syndrome. He didn’t contest to be governor of Imo State, if he honestly feels that there is a case to be made out on the issue of the governorship seat of Imo State, he should allow the person who was the candidate to go make out the case by himself.

READ ALSO: FBI Bust: There’ll Be New Executive Orders To Tackle International Fraud – Presidency

“I expect that he is a Senator representing his Zone and that he is not the spokesperson for the candidate of the AA which is Uche Nwosu his son-in-law.

“He still forgets that his tenure as a governor has expired, he wishes he were still a governor”.

Speaking on an allegation that he tore the result sheet of the AA governorship candidate in the last election, Mr Onyeagocha said the truth remains that it was the attorney general of the former governor (Okorocha) who entered the “nolle prosequi” in the charge against him before the magistrate court.

He stressed that there is no tension in Imo, adding that there is normalcy and that the present government has decided to tolerate some measure of lunacy which some individuals are trying to bring upon the State.

Okorocha Reacts To EFCC’s Sealing Of Properties In Imo

 

The former Governor of Imo state Rochas Okorocha has reacted to the sealing of his property, by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

According to Special Adviser on Media to Okorocha, in a statement, there was no prior invitation to the Managements of the Colleges and other establishments sealed by the Commission.

He explained that most of these establishments had preceded the governorship of Okorocha.

RELATED: EFCC Seals Rochas Foundation College, Other Properties In Owerri

See full statement below:

PRESS RELEASE

SUBJECT: SEALING OF ROCHAS FOUNDATION COLLEGE OWERRI WITH MORE THAN THREE THOUSAND STUDENTS & OTHER INVESTMENTS, BY AGENTS OF ENUGU OFFICE OF EFCC WITHOUT INVITATION OR INVESTIGATION.

-OBVIOUSLY, THE PDP GOVT. IN IMO INSTIGATED THE ACTION, WITH ALL THE CHIEFTAINS OF THE PARTY WHO FELT POLITICALLY DISPLACED FROM 2011 TO 2019 & GOVERNOR IHEDIOHA LAUNCHING WAR AGAINST SENATOR ROCHAS OKOROCHA, THE FAMILY AND OTHERS, IN THE STATE

  1. On Tuesday, July 23, 2019, as at about 6am, Agents of the Economic & Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, from its Office in Enugu with Hilux buses loaded with armed military and mobile Policemen stormed the Rochas Foundation College Owerri, with more than three thousand students, and most of them, orphans, and sealed the College.
  2. The Commission also sealed the East High College and Academy, Owerri with Uloma Rochas Nwosu as the proprietor, among other investments belonging to the former governor and family which the Commission Sealed.
  3. The action of EFCC with the presence of heavily Armed Military and Police Mobile Personnel frightened the students and most of them began to cry. It was a sympathetic scenario.
  4. What is obvious is that the PDP government in the State with Chief Emeka Ihedioha as governor and all the PDP Chieftains who felt politically displaced from 2011 to 2019 by Rochas Okorocha had come together to launch war against Rochas and his family. And APC members. And that was why they needed INEC to declare their Candidate winner even when he didn’t meet the requirement. Unfortunately, they have instigated certain agencies like EFCC into taking some hasty actions following flood of petitions by them.
  5. Our concern about the action of the EFCC is the approach. There was no prior invitation to the Managements or Proprietors of the Colleges and other establishments sealed by the Commission as expected before such action. To the best of our knowledge too, these Colleges have not been under the investigation of the Commission. We have had the feeling that the Sealing of the Colleges or any other structure as the case maybe, would have been based on the outcome of their investigation in which the managements or the proprietors would have also been interrogated.
  6. Sealing the colleges and other properties because they belong to Rochas Okorocha’s family before investigation is what is difficult for us to comprehend especially when most of these establishments had preceded the governorship of Rochas Okorocha.
  7. The Rochas Foundation Colleges have existed in Imo and in several states of the Federation including Plateau, Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna, Oyo, Bauchi and so on, years before Okorocha’s governorship. And the EFCC may also go to those states outside Imo to seal the rest of the Colleges.
  8. What is happening in Imo at the moment is not governance. It is a total war against Rochas and his family, APC members, members of other parties and Opponents. They said they want to make the State uncomfortable for Opponents and they are doing it with recklessness.
  9. It should also not be forgotten that there is a subsisting Court Order to this effect. And we believe that the Commission’s office in Enugu is aware of the Court Order in question as it concerns the Commission and Okorocha’s investments. The EFCC is a highly responsible Institution and our appeal is that it should not be incited against Okorocha and family and should equally take cognizance of the Court Order in question.
  10. Senator Rochas Okorocha and family believe strongly in the State and have relocated most of their businesses to Owerri unlike these PDP bigwigs who do not love the State, with all of them having nothing to show that they have a stake in the State.
  11. We want to appeal to the EFCC to unseal the Colleges and other ventures they had sealed pending the outcome of the investigation they said they have begun. And also considering the stand of the Court of Competent Jurisdiction on the issue.
  12. The students of the Colleges, most of them without parents, cannot be allowed to suffer because of the action of a wicked government in the State. It is not all about Rochas Okorocha and the family, but about humanity and posterity.

Sam Onwuemeodo

Special Adviser (Media) to the former governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha

Okorocha Sworn-In As Senator

Former Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha has been sworn in as Senator by the Senate President Ahmed Lawan.

Okorocha will represent the Imo West Senatorial District at the red chamber.

The ninth Assembly inauguration was held on Tuesday, with the Clerk of the Senate Nelson Ayewoh, making a roll-call of all Senators-elect.

Okorocha’s name was however omitted and he was not inaugurated because he had yet to collect his certificate of return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

INEC, after a management meeting later on Tuesday, yielded to an order by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja and presented Okorocha his certificate of return as Senator-elect, Imo West Senatorial District.

Acknowledging the receipt, Okorocha thanked INEC and said that the issuance of the certificate confirms that the allegation of duress was unfounded.

“I have just been invited that my certificate is ready and I have just come to collect it. I take it to be Gods time and I’ve always believed that justice delayed, is justice denied.

“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 confirm that the allegation of duress was unfounded,” Okorocha said.

Imo Senatorial Elections: INEC Issues Certificate Of Return To Okorocha

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has issued a certificate of return to Rochas Okorocha, as Senator representing Imo West Senatorial district.

INEC, after a management meeting on Tuesday, yielded to an order by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja and presented Okorocha his certificate of return as Senator-elect, Imo West Senatorial District.

This followed months of refusal by the commission to issue Okorocha a certificate over allegations by its returning officer, that he declared the results under duress.

According to INEC; The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) met today, 11 June 2019 and considered 14 Memoranda involving judgments and Orders in pre-election matters relating to the issuance of certificates and or withdrawal of certificates already issued in pre-election matters.

Amongst the Memoranda considered is that concerning the judgment on the Imo West Senatorial District by the Federal High Court, Abuja. The commission decided to; comply with the Court judgment by issuing a Certificate of Return to the plaintiff, Rochas Anayo Ethelbert Okorocha in compliance with the judgment and Orders of Hon Justice O.E Abang.

Acknowledging the receipt, Okorocha thanked INEC and said that the issuance of the certificate confirms that the allegation of duress was unfounded.

I have just been invited that my certificate is ready and I have just come to collect it. I take it to be Gods time and Ive always believed that justice delayed, is justice denied.

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 confirm that the allegation of duress was unfounded.

See statement by INEC below:

 

Okorocha: INEC To Meet Over Court Order On Certificate Of Return

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will meet as soon as possible over the order of the Federal High Court in Abuja to issue a Certificate of Return to the former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha.

The INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, said this in a statement issued on Friday.
No date was, however, given on when the meeting will hold.

Read Also: Court Orders INEC To Issue Certificate Of Return To Okorocha

While the Commission gave the assurance that it will continue to obey judgments of all courts of competent jurisdiction, it, however, noted that its overriding consideration is the safety of its ad-hoc staff, Electoral Officers and Collation/Returning Officers.

Read the full statement below.

INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION

PRESS RELEASE

ON THE ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE OF RETURN FOR IMO WEST SENARTORIAL DISTRICT

The attention of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been drawn to the judgement of the Federal High Court, Abuja, presided over by the Hon. Justice Okon Abang, directing the Commission to issue a Certificate of Return to Rochas Okorocha as the Senator-elect for Imo West Senatorial District.

The Commission is also aware of and has been served with the Order of a High Court of 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 26thJune 2019.

The Commission is aware that the judgement delivered by the Federal High Court, Abuja is the latest in time and determined the rights of the parties in relation to the subject matter of the Certificate of Return, in respect of the Imo West Senatorial Election.

The Commission is currently undertaking State level reviews of the 2019 general elections and all the National Commissioners are either in or heading to their States of Supervision to coordinate activities relating to the said review.

In view of the import and directives of the said judgement, the Commission will meet as soon as practicable to do the needful.

As a law-abiding institution, the Commission will continue to obey judgements of all courts of competent jurisdiction.

However, the Commissions overriding consideration is the safety of its ad-hoc staff, Electoral Officers and Collation/Returning Officers and is worried that if electoral impunity is allowed to flourish, any individual can harass, intimidate and put the Commissions officers under duress, procure a favourable declaration and be rewarded with a Certificate of Return.

Festus Okoye Esq.
National Commissioner & Chairman,
Information and Voter Education Committee
FRIDAY 7TH JUNE 2019.

Court Orders INEC To Issue Certificate Of Return To Okorocha

Okorocha Sets Up 21-Member Transition Committee

 

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to immediately issue the Certificate of Return to the immediate-past governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, as the Senator-Elect for the Imo West Senatorial District.

Justice Okon Abang who made the order in a judgment on the suit filed by Okorocha,challengingINECs decision to withhold his certificate of return after he was declared the winner of February 23, 2019, National Assembly Election in the Imo West Senatorial District, described INECs action as lawless and arbitrary.

Justice Abang also held that Okorocha having been declared the winner of the election, INEC no longer had any legal authority to withhold a certificate of return due to him.

The judge held, once the declaration is made under section 68(c) of the electoral act, INEC has become functus officio and INEC has no lawful authority to withhold the certificate of return for any reason whatsoever.

He also held that the issue of duress is unknown to both the electoral act and the constitution of Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Imo Govt Sets Up 8-Man Committee To Probe Okorochas Administration

Justice Abang ruled that Okorocha remained elected subject to the outcome of the ongoing proceedings of the National Assembly election petition tribunal.

He, therefore, ordered, that INEC shall forthwith publish and circulate the name of the plaintiff as the senator-elect representing Orlu Imo West Senatorial District and also issue Okorocha the certificate of return as the Senator-Elect representing Imo West Senatorial District.

The judge also awarded the cost of N200, 000 against INEC in favour of Okorocha, while also ordering each of the seven defendants in the suit to pay Okorocha N100, 000 as damages.

The judge ordered the defendants to pay the costs personally to Okorocha before taking any further steps in the case.

Justice Abang added that the cost awarded against INEC would serve as deterrence to it from taking any future unlawful action.

INEC had refused to issue a certificate of return to Rochas Okorocha on the grounds that its returning officer who presided over the election complained to it that he declared the results under duress.

Okorocha: INEC To Meet, Do The Needful Following Court Ruling

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it will meet and do the needful, following the judgment of a Federal High Court in Abuja on the issuance of Certificate of Return to Rochas Okorocha.

Justice Okon Abang ordered INEC, to immediately issue the certificate to the immediate-past governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, as the Senator-Elect for the Imo West Senatorial District.

RELATED: Court Orders INEC To Issue Certificate Of Return To Okorocha

According to a statement by INECs National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, the electoral umpire had been served with an order of a High Court of Imo State, directing the Commission not to issue a Certificate of Return to any of the candidates that contested the Imo West Senatorial District election.

However, the statement stressed that the judgment of the Federal High Court is the latest, but the Commission is currently undertaking State level reviews of the 2019 general elections and all the National Commissioners are either in or heading to their States of Supervision to coordinate activities.

See the statement below:

“INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION

PRESS RELEASE

ON THE ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE OF RETURN FOR IMO WEST SENATORIAL DISTRICT

The attention of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been drawn to the judgement of the Federal High Court, Abuja, presided over by the Hon. Justice Okon Abang, directing the Commission to issue a Certificate of Return to Rochas Okorocha as the Senator-elect for Imo West Senatorial District.

The Commission is also aware of and has been served with the Order of a High Court of 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.

The Commission is aware that the judgement delivered by the Federal High Court, Abuja is the latest in time and determined the rights of the parties in relation to the subject matter of the Certificate of Return, in respect of the Imo West Senatorial Election.

The Commission is currently undertaking State level reviews of the 2019 general elections and all the National Commissioners are either in or heading to their States of Supervision to coordinate activities relating to the said review.

In view of the import and directives of the said judgement, the Commission will meet as soon as practicable to do the needful.

As a law-abiding institution, the Commission will continue to obey judgements of all courts of competent jurisdiction.

However, the Commissions overriding consideration is the safety of its ad-hoc staff, Electoral Officers and Collation/Returning Officers and is worried that if electoral impunity is allowed to flourish, any individual can harass, intimidate and put the Commissions officers under duress, procure a favourable declaration and be rewarded with a Certificate of Return.

Festus Okoye Esq.

National Commissioner & Chairman,

Information and Voter Education Committee

FRIDAY 7TH JUNE 2019.”

Magu: EFCC Is Investigating Okorocha, Others

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has confirmed that it is investigating Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and some other Nigerians.

Acting chairman of the anti-graft agency, Mr Ibrahim Magu, affirmed this during an exclusive interview with Channels Television in London.

Asked if an investigation is ongoing regarding the governor, he responded, “definitely”.

“Of course, we are doing a couple of checks and investigations here and there. We are investigating almost everybody,” the EFCC boss added.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s GDP Records Slow Growth In 2019 First Quarter

He noted that the commission has to get to a certain level before it can disclose any information about an ongoing investigation.

EFCC Is Investigating Okorocha, Says Magu

 

Mr Magu explained that this was necessary to prevent any action that can jeopardise or interfere with the process of the inquiry.

According to him, Governor Okorocha is one of the many people being investigated by the commission.

The EFCC boss said although he was aware of reports of the investigation on the social media, the details the anti-graft agency has was different from what was in the public space.

He, however, declined to disclose it.

On the EFCC’s probe of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, he said there was nothing personal.

Magu is in the United Kingdom to meet with investigators assisting the Nigerian government in solving cases of money laundering and financial crimes.

Recently, Governor Okorocha gave an indication that he was under the spotlight of the EFCC, saying he is the most investigated governor in the country.

We Have Built The Second Best Police Headquarters In Nigeria – Okorocha

The newly constructed Police Headquarters in Owerri, the Imo State capital awaiting commissioning on May 16, 2019.

 

Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State, says his administration has built the second best police headquarters in the country.

He revealed this in Owerri on Thursday while inaugurating projects built by the state government in the last eight years.

Addressing the gathering he said: “Do you know we have built the best police headquarters in Imo State? How many of you have seen it?

“This is the police headquarters. After Abuja, we have the best. This one, I am not qualified to commission this one. This one will be qualified by the Vice President; he is coming here tomorrow. This one pass my power,” he stated.

Besides the police headquarters, the Okorocha’s administration also constructed a Prison facility facing the Government House in Owerri, the state capital.

READ ALSO: Okorocha Inaugurates Over 100 Projects Days To End Of Tenure

The governor explained he was moved to tears to build the structure over what he described as ‘worst inhumanity to mankind’ arising from the dilapidated structures he saw earlier.

“This one is the Nigerian Prisons Headquarters. You know where they are staying opposite the Government House, we have 89 people in one room.

“They sleep turn by turn. After this one sleeps for 2 minutes, another one will stand him up and sleep. I saw that and I wept. I said this is the worst inhumanity to mankind. I decided to build a new prison headquarters. It is 3,200 beds each,” he said.

Stressing further, Okorocha said the state government also embarked on a federal project by building a liaison office for the Nigerian Navy in Owerri.

The visibly happy Okorocha moved on by commissioning a MOPOL 64 Base headquarters in Ideato area of the state to boost security to the amusement of his guests.

Other projects commissioned are: Imo State Fire Service Headquarters, Night Live and Tourism, Imo Security Network, Imo Community Watch, Imo Civil Guards, Imo Niger Delta Security, 100 Sienna security patrol vehicles, 700 security patrol motorcycles, 211 Regiment Group for the Nigerian Air Force among others.

Okorocha Inaugurates Over 100 Projects Days To End Of Tenure

Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha speaks during the commissioning of some projects in Owerri on May 16, 2019.

 

Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, on Thursday commissioned over 100 projects in the state 13 days to handing over power to his successor.

The governor commissioned the projects during a Thanksgiving programme held in Owerri, the state capital. He said the projects being inaugurated has proven his critics wrong.

Some of the schools constructed and inaugurated include Owerri City Secondary school, Owerri Girls College, Young Scientist College, Ikenegbu Girls Secondary School, Akwakuma Girls Secondary School, Emmanuel College, Government College Owerri, Amakohia Comprehensive Secondary School, among others.

READ ALSO: Imo Assembly Deputy Speaker Resigns After Speaker

Okorocha explained that the newly built schools will give Orlu a facelift. He added that he decided building schools because he did his campaign there.

Some of the projects built by his administration include Umunna Primary school, Orlu. “We have schools like this more than 546 of these schools scattered all over. 305-storey building schools.”

Okorocha stated included: Central School Ubomiri, Okigwe State Primary School, Central School Amaokpara among others.

Commissioning them the governor said: “Since I don’t have time, the 305 schools are hereby commissioned.”

On tertiary institutions, some of them built by the Okorocha administration included: Imo State College of Advanced Professional, Imo State University Owerri, Eastern Palm University Ogboko, University of Creative Technology Nkwerre, University of Medical College Ogboko, University of Engineering Onuimo, University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Abor/Okpala.

Other institutions listed are Imo State Polytechnic Ahiara, Imo State Polytechnic Umuagwo, Imo State Polytechnic Arondizuogu, Imo State College of Education Ihite Uboma, Imo State E-Library, among others.