No INEC member of staff, no matter how highly placed, can rig an election in favour of or against any particular candidate or political party”, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) affirmed on Tuesday evening, debunking allegations raised by Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, that the commission is planning to rig the July 14 governorship election in favour of All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Kayode Fayemi.
In a release signed by the governor, he accused some officials of INEC of plotting to subvert the commission ‘for monetary gains’.
He said: “As the July 14, 2018 governorship election in Ekiti State draws closer, disturbing and worrisome information on plots to rig the election in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and subvert the will of Ekiti people, have come to our attention
“INEC National Commissioner, Mrs. Amina Zakari, two Deputy Directors (ICT Dept), Mr. Paschal Uwaenwe and Mr. Abdulrazaq Agboola Yusuf as well as Director (Procurement Dept), Mr. Kenneth Ukeagu are the arrow-heads of rigging plot;
“The duo of Uwaenwe and Agboola are to pre-load card readers, supply faulty card readers to Ado and Ikere while Kenneth Ukeagu is to provide ballot papers for stuffing of ballot boxes, Forms EC8A, EC8B and EC8C series and other sensitive election materials. Two sets of the Forms are to be procured bearing the same Serial Numbers. One set will be handed to Fayemi to change results of 503 Polling Units;
“Also, real Youth Corps members, students of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti and Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti that are to serve as Presiding Officers (POs) and Assistant Presiding Officers (APOs) are to be replaced with APC members;
“Fayemi and other APC leaders have been meeting with these three INEC officials in Akure and Abuja and they are reporting directly to Mrs Amina Zakari;
“Furthermore, Fayemi’s ex-Chief Security Officer (CSO), Hakeem Abiola and former ADC, Adeyemi Ajayi are to coordinate indiscriminate arrest of top functionaries of the State Govt and bribery of other security officials. Hakeem is already in Ado Ekiti, operating from a popular hotel located off Iworoko Road;
Fayose also cliamed that Mr. Akin Fakorede of the Federal SARS is being considered for secondment to Ekiti State for the election. “Nigerians are aware of the ignoble roles Akin Fakorede played in Rivers State and they want him to play the same role in Ekiti”, the governor alleged.
According to him, “the armed policemen to be coordinated by Fayemi’s ex ADC and Akin Fakorede are to invade the already selected 503 Polling Units, shoot sporadically in the air to scare voters away so as to be able to perpetrate the fraud;
“Our question is; why will DSS and the Police post Fayemi’s ex security aides to Ekiti for an election in which he is a candidate?”.
Fayose therefore called on the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris and the DSS Director, Lawal Daura to allow Ekiti election to be credible by ensuring impartiality of their men.
“We also call on the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to prevail on his officials listed above, who appear bent on frustrating the electoral commission for monetary gains. They must not be allowed to play any role in the Ekiti election. He should cause an investigation into the issues raised and personalities mentioned”, he stated.
However, in a swift reaction, INEC described as baseless, untrue and unworkable, the allegations of the Ekiti governor.
The Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi said accusations as described by the Ekiti governor is not possible at INEC given the institutional checks and balances engaged in every electoral process.
Oyekanmi stated: “The Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) attention has been drawn to some allegations made by a serving governor, which give the impression that INEC is planning to rig the July 14 Ekiti Governorship Election. We wish to state unequivocally that the allegations are untrue and baseless;
“The Commission has since November 2015 successfully conducted elections into 180 constituencies. These include five governorship elections carried out in Kogi, Bayelsa, Edo, Ondo and Anambra states. So far, nobody has accused the Commission of rigging any of these elections. All of the election results recorded so far testify to INEC’s ability to ensure that only the voters determine who wins an election;
“We wish to emphasize that it is impossible for the Commission’s officials, any individual or group for that matter to pre-load the Smart Card Readers (SCRs) or provide ballot papers for stuffing as alleged. Indeed, the SCRs which perform the three functions of identifying, verifying and authenticating the voter and the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) can only function on the election day;
“In addition to the results sheets that we issue to party agents at the Polling Unit and at every level of collation, the Commission also deliberately introduced Form EC60E to show election results at the Polling Units, which is the most important level. This form is pasted at every Polling Unit after collation;
“To that extent, no INEC member of staff, no matter how highly placed, can rig an election in favour of or against any particular candidate or political party. This is as a result of the stringent processes and safeguards introduced by the Commission;
“It is not true as alleged that three INEC officials have been meeting with one of the candidates contesting in the Ekiti governorship election;
“The Commission has also not made any plans to hire members of any political party as Presiding Officers (PO), Assistant Presiding Officers (APO) or for any electoral position.
“Indeed, the Commission’s staff members have been working round the clock to ensure a free and fair election in Ekiti on July 14. It is thus unfair to associate them with an imaginary plot to rig the election. Rather than malign them at press conferences, the Governor should make any evidence of wrongdoing available to the Commission for appropriate action;
“We hereby appeal to the general public to ignore all deliberate attempts to soil the Commission’s reputation with wild, unsubstantiated allegations.
“We also wish to assure all Nigerians that INEC is committed to a free, fair and credible governorship election in Ekiti State on July 14 and indeed, the 2019 General Elections”, Oyekanmi concluded.