The Independent National Electoral Commission has rebutted allegations made by the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, that it was colluding with some interested parties to rig the July 14 governorship election,
A statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Monday, and signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, stated that the allegations were untrue and baseless.
Mr Fayose had said INEC officials had perfected plans to rig the election in favour of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Kayode Fayemi.
The governor specifically mentioned the name of INEC’s Head of Operations, Amina Zakari, as spearheading the plot.
Ms Zakari had since replied the governor, urging him to provide evidence to back up his allegations.
It will be recalled that the APC campaign had made a similar allegation, saying that some INEC officials were meeting at the Government House to fashion a plan on how to rig the election in favour of the PDP candidate, Kolapo Olusola.
“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 INEC statement read on Tuesday.
“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.”
The statement noted that INEC had since November 2015 successfully conducted elections into 180 constituencies, including 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.” the statement further read.
“We wish to emphasise 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.
“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.”