The Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) 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 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.
We wish to emphasize 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.
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 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.
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.
Rotimi L. Oyekanmi
Chief Press Secretary to the Hon. Chairman.