The Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) has rebuffed allegations by Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State that the commission has conspired with some others to rig the forthcoming governorship election in Ekiti State describing the assertions as untrue and baseless.
The commission in a statement issued Tuesday night said that after 180 elections including five governorship elections since 2015 that it had acquired a steely reputation for integrity which would not be compromised at this stage.
Governor Fayose had at a stakeholders’ forum earlier yesterday accused the commission of plotting to rig the election by preloading the smart card readers to be used for the governorship election.
INEC’s reaction articulated by Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, the chief press secretary to chairman read in part:
“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.”