Romanus Ugwu, Abuja and Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday, finally issued Certificate of Return to the immediate past governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, confirming him the senator-elect for Imo West senatorial district.
Shortly after receiving the certificate by 6.40pm and after the inauguration of the ninth Assembly, Okorocha confirmed to newsmen that the commission had officially invited him that his certificate was ready.
He said part of his mission to the upper legislative chambers of the National Assembly is to help rebuild the broken political bridge between the South East and the rest of the country.
“I received certificate of return by exactly 6.40pm today, shortly after the inauguration of the ninth assembly. I take it to be God’s time and I have always believed that justice delayed is denied. But all the same, for the sake of our nascent democracy, I accept this certificate.
“I want to thank the judiciary for doing the needful and for having come up at the time they did as the last resort for every downtrodden and common man in this society or for anybody that feels oppressed.
“I also want to thank INEC for taking this bold step against all odds to issue me this certificate of return. It goes a long way to confirm that the allegation of duress was unfounded. This is a delay tactics by my detractors to slow down the process, but I believe it is God’s time and I take it to be God’s time. I am happy that finally this matter has been resolved,” he said.
On his impression about his party, Okorocha said: “I am a member of a political party, but not a member of any particular person’s grouping or caucus. I belong to APC and there is nothing wrong with the APC at all. However, there could be something wrong with the management of the APC.
“For that reason, I will not stop being an APC member because of somebody. I came into the APC alone, I am in the party and I believe in that. Suffice to say that time will tell and time will actually explain certain things unknown to us.”
Okorocha also enumerated what his senatorial district and by extension Nigerians should expect from him.
“I decided to come to the senate primarily for two reasons. First, to rebuild political bridge between the South East and the rest of the country, which I felt was a faulty, broken bridge that must be fixed to dramatise the urgency of now to make Ndigbo parts and parcel of the Nigeria political family.
“Secondly, I am going there to see the possibility of introducing free education at all levels in Nigeria so that the ordinary people will have access to education. This is what I practised as a governor and I believe we can do the same as a senator.
“Talking about the Igbo, I am going to comment on that because today the senate president is gone and the deputy senate president is also gone. I think in the course of our deliberation, the South East will be carried along accordingly.
“I would have wished to attend the whole proceedings of the inauguration, but now, I have missed it because I didn’t have the certificate, now that I have been issued one, I will join my colleagues to move the country to the next level,” he said.