A Coalition of South East youth leaders has said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) lacked the power to withhold Certificate of Return in an election duly declared in line with the electoral law.

The coalition stated this in a press release issued yesterday to reporters by its president-general and secretary-general, Goodluck Ibem and Kanice Igwe respectively.

They were reacting to a statement by Imo All Progressives Congress (APC) Elders Forum, urging the INEC not to issue a certificate of return to Rochas Okorocha for Imo West Senatorial district in the last general election.

According to the coalition, the electoral umpire had no powers to cancel an election result that met the minimum requirement of the electoral law.

“The statement cannot override the law which clearly stipulated that when a candidate is declared winner by a returning officer for that election, that it is only an election petition tribunal that can upturn it,”they said.

They alleged that the Elders Forum was fighting Okorocha simply because he refused to share Imo state funds meant for the development of the state to them.

According to them, if the forum meant well for the good people of the state, they would have known that this is not the time for political in-house fighting and disagreement, but for cooperation and development.

“They should also have known that this is the time to work as a team for the state and the South East geo-political zone so that the zone will produce many senators at the Senate”.

“We call on well-meaning Imo state citizens to disregard the forum and stand behind their governor and pragmatic leader, His Excellency Owelle Rochas Okorocha as the Senator-elect for Imo West Senatorial district,” they concluded

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