The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says nobody within or outside the commission can rig the forthcoming general elections.
The Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, stated this on Wednesday in Abuja, while responding to allegations made against the Commission by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday, in Abuja.
The PDP alleged that the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, was being compromised by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Presidency with offers of huge sums of money, choice property and juicy appointments to his relations to rig elections in favour of the APC.
Oyekanmi asked the PDP spokesperson, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, to substantiate his allegations, describing it as baseless and unsubstantiated like other allegations.
“Please ask him, where is the concrete evidence to support these new allegations? What does the country stand to benefit from this desperation to cause needless confusion?
“Did he attend the meeting where such incentives were purportedly offered to the INEC Chairman? Does he have witnesses to support his assertions?’’
Oyekanmi implored Nigerians to henceforth disregard and ignore any unsubstantiated allegations by the PDP spokesman against the INEC Chairman.
“Rather than work with the Commission to ensure that the general elections less than 30 days away are successfully conducted, it is very sad that some people are determined to cast aspersions on the good work that INEC has been doing in the last three years just for their selfish interests.
“Let me assure Nigerians that nobody within or outside INEC can rig the 2019 general elections.”
Oyeknami reiterated that in the coming elections, every voter must present his or her Permanent Voter’s Card and must be verified, confirmed and authenticated by the Smart Card Reader before voting.
“Accreditation and voting will be simultaneously done as had been the case since January 2016 when the commission conducted the Bayelsa governorship election.
“It is important to also state that the Commission adopted this method because it was recommended by all the local and international observers that covered the 2015 General Elections.
“This was after confirmation that more than two million voters did not return to cast their ballots after accreditation in that election for a number of reasons.
“Indeed, INEC is capable of, and will conduct free, fair and credible general elections. All we ask is for all stakeholders to play by the rules,” he added.
NAN recalls that Ologbondiyan had earlier addressed a press conference, calling on INEC to rise above the “manifest compromises’’ and conduct the 2019 general elections in a transparent manner.
He said that the entire nation was worried and that the palpable fear of every Nigerian today was whether INEC could conduct an election that would be free, fair, credible and transparent.
“This is particularly as allegations are rife in the public space, that the INEC Chairman is being compromised by the APC and the Presidency with offers of huge sums of money.
“This also includes choice property within and outside Nigeria, as well as juicy appointments to his relations as bribes, in return for the rigging of the elections in favour of Buhari and the APC.
“The PDP urges Prof. Yakubu to resist any such pressure.”
Ologbondiyan said that the call was critical following plans to have accreditation and voting simultaneously to pave the way for participation of aliens, underage and unregistered voters; as well as allocate fictitious figures in favour of the APC.
He also alleged that the PDP already had information that the geo-spatial centers created by the INEC in the six geo-political zones had also been dubiously duplicated by Mrs Amina Zakari, INEC National Commissioner.
Ologbondiyan, who further made a series of allegations against INEC, advised Yakubu to demonstrate his credibility and ability to conduct free, fair and transparent elections by taking urgent and decisive steps towards addressing these fears by Nigerians.
“To do this, we demand that Prof. Mahmood Yakubu immediately rejig the electoral guidelines in a way that accreditation must be first concluded, number of accredited voters ascertained and openly announced before actual voting.
“Anything short of this will only validate the position of Nigerians that INEC has been compromised by the APC,” he said.