Rochas Okorocha, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Imo West senatorial district election, has filed a suit against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for failing to issue him a certificate of return as senator-elect.
Okorocha, who is the incumbent Governor of Imo State, had the suit filed on his behalf by Kehinde Ogunwumiju, his lawyer.
The APC candidate was declared as winner of the Imo West senatorial election, which held on February 23.
However, Francis Ibeawuchi, the INEC Returning Officer for the election, said Governor Okorocha was declared as winner of the election under duress.
“I declared this thing before under duress; I’m still under duress declaring this one,” Professor Innocent had said at the collation centre in February.
Subsequently, INEC declined to issue the governor with a certificate of return over the allegation that the returning officer.
In the suit filed, INEC was made the sole defendant by the plaintiff.
But following an agreement by lawyers in the case, Justice Tawio Tawio, the presiding judge, gave an order permitting Jones Onyeriri, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election; and Senator Osita Izunaso, the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), to be joined as the second and the third defendants.
Izunaso was represented by his lawyer, Nwafor Orizu; Onyeyiri was represented by Emeka Etiaba, while INEC by represented by Wendy Kuku.
Justice Taiwo ordered the defendants to file and exchange their processes within 10 days, while the counsel to the plaintiff was given three days to respond to them.
The judge adjourned the matter till April 5.