The All Progressives Congress in Delta State and its governorship candidate, Emerhor Otega, have alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission was compromised by the PDP hence the victory of now Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, the PDP candidate during the governorship election.
Mr. Okowa’s election is currently being challenged by the APC and Mr. Emerhor at the state Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Asaba, the state capital. They are contesting the mandatory use of card readers for the governorship election.
In a petition to the acting Chairperson of INEC, Amina Zakari, and exclusively obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Emerhor and the APC said there was “an attempt by INEC staff to testify under oath in denial of the mandatory status of the use of card readers in the April 11, 2015 governorship election in the state, currently the subject of litigation at the elections tribunal sitting in Asaba.”
In the petition dated August 3, the petitioners alleged that the legal counsel of INEC at the Asaba tribunal, Messrs D. D. DODO, doing the bidding of PDP and Mr. Okowa, “has procured Messrs Enabor Felix, Livy Unigwe, and Donatus Anumba in their capacity as staff of the Commission ( Asaba ) to depose to witness statements on oath in contradiction of the official position of INEC as publicly stated with regard to the mandatory use of card readers for the said elections.”
Before its staff were summoned as witnesses, the APC and its candidate had in July petitioned Ms.Zakari that INEC in Delta State had distanced itself from the official position of the Commission in respect of card readers for the governorship election in its official response before the tribunal.
In their statement seen by PREMIUM TIMES, the trio of Messrs Enabor, Anumba and and Unigwe stated that the use of card readers was not mandatory for the April 11 election.
“That from inception it was contemplated that upon failure of the Card Reader Machine, other contingencies will be resorted to in order to ensure that election is duly conducted and that legitimate voters were not disenfranchised.
“That the ultimate mechanism was a resort to the MANUAL ACCREDITATION as provided for in the Electoral Act. That with the challenges presented by the Card Reader Machines, the process of ACCREDITATION PROCEEDED AS WAS EXPRESSLY PROVIDED FOR IN THE ELECTORAL ACT,” they stated.
The petitioners requested “Acting Chairman Mrs Amina Zakari to use her good offices to look into their complaint against Messrs Enabor, Unigwe and Anumba, with a view to maintaining and defending the official position of the Commission without let or favour to any of the parties to the election petition.”
In the April 11 guber elections across the states of Nigeria, while INEC through the Secretary to Commission, Augusta Ogakwu and Chief Press Secretary to the former Chairman, Kayode Idowu, made official announcements on the use of only electronic accreditation – employing card readers and permanent voter cards- there have been repeated attempts by the Delta State INEC to deny the mandatory use of card readers.
With electronic accreditation process, it is possible to determine the actual number of registered voters in the election since the card readers transferred data real time to INEC’s central server.
Nigerian electoral law provides for cancellation of an election where vote cast exceeds number of accredited voters.
Also, INEC had stated that in situations where card readers failed even upon replacement, election should be postponed to the following day.