By Raphael Jov, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) has described the allegations made by the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose which give the impression that INEC is planning to rig the July 14 Ekiti Governorship Election as untrue and baseless.
The Commission in Press Release signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of INEC,Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi said it has since November 2015 successfully conducted elections into 180 constituencies which 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”, he stated.
Oyekanmi emphasize that it is impossible for the INEC 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.
He explained that in addition to the results sheets that is issue by INEC 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.
The spokesman maintained that 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,stressing that this is as a result of the stringent processes and safeguards introduced by the Commission.
Rotimi Oyekanmi also stated that it is not true as alleged that three INEC officials have been meeting with one of the candidates contesting in the Ekiti governorship election, noting that 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.
He disclosed that 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.
He urged Governor Fayose to make any evidence of wrongdoing available to the Commission for appropriate action.
While appealing to the general public to ignore all deliberate attempts to soil the Commission’s reputation with wild, unsubstantiated allegations, Oyekanmi 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.