The Federal High Court 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.
The Court ruled on Friday that the decision to deprive Mr. Okorocha of the certificate falls outside the provisions of the law and was, therefore, a “lawless decision.”
According to the court presided over by Justice Okon Abang, only the returning officer of the INEC had the constitutional authority to declare a winner.
Mr Abang said any person declared a winner by the returning officer remains a winner until petitioners succeed in upturning the declaration at the election tribunal.
The court further ruled that Mr Okorocha had no business being the originator of the petition at the election tribunal.
Mr Abang, who ruled that the federal high court had exclusive jurisdiction to decide on the matter, described INEC’s decision as “lawless and a complete nullity.”
The electoral body had said it refused to give Mr Okorocha certificate of return after the returning officer for Imo West senatorial district said he was compelled to declare Mr Okorocha winner.