Okorocha: Senator-elect by Default or Duress

By Eric Elezuo

Watching the Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, address the press a few days ago following the omission of his name from the list of senators-elect, and subsequently denying him of the official certificate of return, which officially confers legitimacy on the bearer, one would understand that the two terms governor has lost it. And recovery may prove to be a tall order.

Of all the governor said, it was easy to pick the only message he communicated to the viewing public, and that is ‘I am in darkness as to why INEC removed my name from the list of senators’. His voice was devoid of the usual bragadaccio, the confidence of one who is in charge and would continue to be in charge. He was a changed man – forcefully imbibing the change agenda as presented to him by the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Okorocha’s travails is a direct consequence of his desire to seed the seat of governance to his son-in-law, Mr. Uche Nwosu. This was frowned at by the national executive of his party led by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. It was observed that calls to make the billionaire governor see reasons fell on deaf ears.

However, either by crook or straight means, he lost the primaries with his anointed candidate, but in protest, he urged the members of the party to decamp while he remained in APC. The team decamped to Action Alliance (AA), a party he formed in the distant past. From his vantage position, he fought the party, coupled with the bad public relations he already had with the Imo people. Though he won his senatorial seat, Nwosu lost the governorship seat in spite of the huge human and capital investments he made as the campaigns lasted.

But the crux of the matter is the supposed victory he had at the senatorial election. The Returning Officer had complained that the supporters of the governor held him hostage, and made him declare the governor winner under duress. He claimed further that his decision to declare the results even when it was still not concluded what to save his life.
For this reason, INEC has either refused to present or withheld Okorocha’s certificate of return, and at the same time removed his name in the list of senators-elect. The commission has remained silent on the next line of action, leaving the governor in ‘darkness’.

Okorocha’s action was brazen, and defiled any known rules of political engagements both to his party which he ditched while still remaining a member, and to the people of Imo whom he ruled with the iron fist. What he is obviously facing is retribution for his omissions and commissions both as a party member and as a governor.

It is a fair, may not be just punishment. However, one must be taught a lesson for brazen misdemeanors to serve as deterrent, and so let it be with Okorocha.

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