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You Don’t Have The Power To Hold Back My Certificate Of Return —- Okorocha Tells INEC

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, on Wednesday said the Independent National Electoral Commission lacked power to withhold his certificate of return as the senator-elect for the Imo West.

He described the electoral body’s decision to withhold his certificate as part of efforts aimed at making him irrelevant ahead of the 2023 presidential election.

Okorocha said this at the Government House, Owerri on while addressing some youths who paid him a solidarity visit.

He said only a court had the power to nullify any election after a winner had been declared.

He denied the allegation that INEC’s returning officer declared him winner of the senatorial election under duress, describing the allegation as an insult.

Okorocha said, “My certificate of return has not been issued and I wonder why INEC will withhold my certificate for a frivolous reason, without hearing from me.

“I am not a violent person and those who know me know that. This is why we have peace in Imo State.

“The returning officer could not have done that under duress under the watchful eyes of the police, the DSS (the Department of State Services) and party agents.

“I am not unmindful of the facts that those who are fighting me from Abuja are anxious to see me removed as a senator. I urge INEC to do the right thing immediately by releasing my certificate.”

The governor said he was not fighting anybody and those who were fighting him would fail.

He added, “My INEC certificate cannot be touched or seized. Doing so is belittling democracy in Nigeria.

“It is only the tribunal that has the right to say otherwise once a result is declared.

“INEC cannot seize my certificate because of a mere petition written by somebody in a case I was not given the opportunity to present my own side of the story.”

Okorocha also described the governorship and state house of assembly elections in the state as “a sham and a mockery of democracy.”

He said he had lost confidence in the nation’s democracy.

He accused INEC of complicity in the conduct of the polls.

He insisted that the governorship candidate of the Action Alliance, Uche Nwosu, won the governorship election and had the required spread of 25 per cent in 21 out of the 27 local governments in the state.

The governor said, “It is obvious that INEC in Imo State is not guaranteeing us free, fair and credible elections.

“Uche Nwosu, the governorship candidate of the Action Alliance actually won the election, but INEC criminally disbanded electoral officers of the commission and introduced people from Abia College of Agriculture who arrived the state midnight.

“They brought people they had been training for weeks in Anambra before the elections.”

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BREAKING: Heavily Armed Thugs Attack Kwankwaso In Kano, 8 Persons Critically Injured

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Former Governor of Kano State and the immediate past Senator representing Kano Central, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, was attacked by thugs who are yet to be identified in Kano, Monday.

The attack, which followed the former governor’s visit to his hometown, Madobi where he had gone to open a midwifery school, was said to have been carried out around the state underpass.

Eight persons were said to have been critically injured while several cars were damaged beyond recognition.

However, Hajiya Binta Sipikin, Kwankwaso’s media aide, linked the attack to thugs loyal to Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.

She said, “This attack was preplanned because we were told that heavy-armed thugs were waiting under the bridge to attack us when we were coming from Madobi.

“We believe Ganduje was behind this attack because we heard one of his aide names being mentioned during the attack.”

She noted that scores of their members were seriously injured and currently receiving medical attention in various clinics including the International Hospital while 10 vehicles destroyed and personal items carted away by political thugs believed to have been sponsored by the Kano State Government at Sharada Panshekara Sabon Titi bridge.

However, one of the Governor’s top aides, who pleaded not to be named, denied being behind the attack on Kwankwaso’s convoy.

He alleged that the attack was an internal wrangling between the Kwankwasiyya members who were apparently tired of their boss, Kwankwaso.

He said, “The attack was a misunderstanding between the Kwankwasiyya members, who accused Kwankwaso of betraying their trust by after them for his personal gains.”

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BREAKING: Court Orders Forfeiture Of Saraki’s Houses In Ikoyi

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A federal high court sitting in Lagos has ordered the temporary forfeiture of two properties of Bukola Saraki, former senate president, in the Ikoyi area of Lagos state.

Nnaemeka Omewa, a counsel of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC), had approached the court, seeking an order of interim forfeiture of the properties located at 17A McDonald Road, Ikoyi, Eti Osa local government area of Lagos.

He had told the court that they were acquired through “proceeds of unlawful activities”.

Part of the reliefs sought by the EFCC included “An order of this honourable Court forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria landed property with appurtenances situate, lying and known as No. 17A McDonald Road, Ikoyi, Eti Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State found and recovered from the respondent which property is reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activity”.

The commission alleged that while serving as governor of Kwara state, Saraki withdrew over N12 billion cash from the account of the Kwara government and paid the same into his accounts domiciled in Access and Zenith Banks through one of his personal assistant, Abdul Adama.

Delivering ruling on the application, Mohammed Liman, the presiding judge, ordered interim forfeiture of the two properties.

He also instructed that the EFCC should publish the order in a national newspaper within 14 days, for anyone with interest in the properties to show cause, why they should not be finally forfeited to the federal government.

The federal government had arraigned Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) while he was the nation’s number three citizen.

He was accused of failing to declare his assets, an allegation he denied, alleging that he was being witch-hunted.

The supreme court subsequently dismissed the false assets declaration trial.

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BREAKING: Court Takes A Second Look At Sowore’s Bail Condition, Waives N50m Security Deposit

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has agreed to the request by the convener of #RevolutionNow, Omoyele Sowore and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare for the variation of the conditions attached to the bail earlier granted them.

The court had on October 4 this year granted them bail on certain conditions, which they considered stringent and which they could not meet, prompting them to apply to the court for variation.

In a ruling on Monday, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu waived the earlier requirement that one of Sowore’s deposits N50million as security and reduced the amount attached to Bakare’s bail from N50m to N30m.

Justice Ojukwu said all other conditions should remain. She said the decision to restrain the defendants from participating in rallies was in order in view of the nature of the case.

She adjourned till November 6 for the commencement of trial in the case, in which Sowore and Bakare are charged with among others, a treasonable felony.

The judge in a ruling on October 4, 2019, granted Sowore bail at N100million and two sureties in the same amount and barred him from travelling out of Abuja.

Justice Ojukwu ordered one of Sowore’s surety to deposit N50m in the account of the court as security.

She granted Bakare bail at N50m with a surety in the same amount and barred him from traveling out of his base in Osogbo, except while coming for the trial in Abuja.

The judge added that the sureties, who must be resident in Abuja, must also have landed assets worth the bail sum in Abuja, and should deposit the original title documents of the assets with the court.

Justice Ojukwu ordered that the defendants be remanded in the custody of the Department of State Service (DSS) pending when they are able to meet the bail conditions.

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