Rochas Okorocha sworn in as senator after court ruling

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Senator Okorocha (IMO West)

FORMER Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha has been sworn in as Senator (APC, Imo West Senatorial District) in the 9th Senate, ending months of speculations and suspense.

The Clerk to the Senate, Nelson Ayewoh, conducted the swearing-in Thursday after which Rochas Okorocha signed necessary documents.

His swearing in came two days after the inauguration of the National Assembly during which 107 senators were sworn in. The former governor was not among the senators who took oath of office on Tuesday because his name was not among the list of senators.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on Tuesday issued Okorocha with his certificate of return after a court order.

INEC had refused to recognise Okorocha’s victory, alleging that it was unlawfully secured after the returning officer, Prof. Innocent Ibeabuchi, claimed that he was coerced to declare Okorocha winner.

But last week Friday, a Federal High Court Abuja ordered INEC  to issue Okorocha his Certificate of Return. 

Justice Okon Abang had described as lawless and a nullity the decision by INEC not to issue Rochas Okorocha the certificate after the returning officer for Imo West senatorial election, in the 2019 elections, Ibeabuchi, declared Okorocha winner of the senatorial polls.

Abang noted that the action of the electoral body was not backed by any known law in the country. 

The judge ruled that only the returning officer had the constitutional authority to declare a winner and that any person so declared winner by the returning officer remains a winner until such victory was upturned by an election tribunal  following petitioners.

The former governor thanked the court for affirming his victory and dedicated his victory to the people of Imo West and the state in general, for their support and steadfastness as he promised to continue to play politics devoid of rancour, malice and bitterness.

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