The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has appealed to Nigerians to ignore all deliberate attempts to tarnish its reputation with wild, unsubstantiated allegations on forthcoming governorship election in Ekiti.
INEC made the call in a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to its Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, on Tuesday in Abuja.
It reaffirmed its commitment to a free, fair and credible poll in the July 14 poll in Ekiti State and 2019 general elections.
“INEC’s 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.
“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 commission emphasised that it was impossible for its officials, any individual or group to pre-load the Smart Card Readers or provide ballot papers for stuffing as alleged.
It stated that the card readers, which performed the three functions of identifying, verifying and authenticating the voter and the Permanent Voter’s Card, could only function on the election day.
It added that in addition to the result sheets that INEC issued 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.
He added that the form is being 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 noted that it was not true as alleged that three its officials had been meeting with one of the candidates contesting in the 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.
“We are working round the clock to ensure a free and fair election in Ekiti.
“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.’’
Ekiti governor, Mr Ayo Fayose had raised the alarm on alleged plots to by an INEC National Commissioner and two other officials at the commission’s headquarters to rig the election in favour of APC and its candidate, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
Fayose, in a statement issued on Monday, alleged that the two INEC officials were to pre-load card readers, supply faulty card readers to Ado-Ekiti and provide ballot papers for stuffing of ballot boxes.
He had said, “Two sets of the Forms are to be produced 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.’’