The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cleared the air on the allegations that the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, attempted to distort the governorship election result in Abia.
Social media posts suggest that Mr Yakubu gave a directive contrary to the commission’s guidelines to the Presiding Officer in Abia State, Nnenna Oti.
Ms Oti’s speech that she would do the right thing was framed as a dissent from a contrary directive given by the INEC Chairman.
But Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, said Mr Yakubu never called the Returning Officer to give her a directive.
He explained that the Returning Officer wanted an official communication on the Commission’s decision to suspend the collation of results in Abia State.
He said Mr Yakubu directed that pending the delivery of the hard copies, the soft copies of the Commission’s letter be forwarded immediately to the Resident Electoral Commissioner of Enugu State and the Administrative Secretary of Abia State.
“The Returning Officer for Abia State then directed that the content of the letter should be read aloud by the Administrative Secretary in the presence of agents of political parties, observers, the media and security personnel at the Collation Centre,” he said.
“This is what is now being mischievously interpreted as a directive to the Returning Officer on some phantom criteria at variance with the approved guidelines. There is nothing like that.”
Mr Oyekanmi said the content of the letter read was the same as the press release on the commission’s social media platforms.
The collation of the governorship election result from Obingwa Local Government Area of the state was suspended over alleged attack and invasion of the INEC office in the council by suspected thugs.
The governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in Abia State, Alex Otti, is leading after collation of results of Saturday’s governorship election from 16 of 17 local government areas of the state.
ALSO READ: Alex Otti set to emerge as Abia Governor, leads PDP with 93,000 votes
His closest challenger and the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Okey Ahiwe, won in five local government areas, while the Young Progressives Party (YPP) candidate in the election, Enyinnaya Nwafor, won in one local government area.
Qosim Suleiman is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe
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