INDEPENDENT National Electoral Commission (INEC) has dropped hints that it may appeal against the court ruling directing it to issue certificate of return to immediate past governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, as winner of the February 23 election for Imo West senatorial district.
The indication is coming just one day after the electoral umpire released Okorocha’s certificate barely hours after the inauguration of the ninth National Assembly.
A statement signed by INEC’s National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, indicates that the commission released Okorocha’s certificate in compliance with an order of Federal High Court Abuja presided over by Justice Okon Abang.
Okoye also stated that appealing against the judgment is crucial to averting what the statement called “likely consequences of this judgment for the country’s electoral system and democracy.”
Delivering his judgement, Justice Abang derided INEC’ refusal to recognise Okrocha’s victory as “lawless and complete nullity” stating that the former governor remains winner of the election and his recognition by the commission “cannot be delayed one minute longer.”
But the commission said it took the decision because the presiding officer, Innocent Ibeabuchi, said he made the declaration under duress, adding that releasing the certificate demonstrates its longstanding commitment to complying with all orders of the court, including those with which it may have reservation.