The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has reacted to Governor Ayodele Fayose’s allegation that it has conspired to rig the forthcoming governorship election in Ekiti State.
Recall that Fayose had on Monday raised the alarm over 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.
However, the commission in a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to its Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, on Tuesday described the allegation as untrue and baseless.
INEC appealed to Nigerians to ignore all deliberate attempts to tarnish its reputation with wild and unsubstantiated allegations.
It reaffirmed its commitment to a free, fair and credible poll in the July 14 poll in Ekiti State and the 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,” he said.
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.
“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.’’
“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,’’ he added.