The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has responded to an allegation by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that it is working with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to rig elections in some states.
A statement by the PDP issued by Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP National Publicity Secretary and Director, Media and Publicity of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organization, on Monday, had accused Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC Chairman, of “overtly playing the script of the Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) by declaring governorship elections in states where the PDP is in clear lead as inconclusive”.
PDP alleged that the INEC Chairman had become “overtly partisan, surrendered its independence to the APC and carries on as a compromised umpire with obnoxious impunity, thereby sending signals of being heavily bribed by the APC to alter results for its candidates”.
PDP also made references to states where elections were declared inconclusive.
However, the electoral commission has denied the claims by PDP, stating that its primary goal is to ensure free, fair and credible elections.
A statement issued by Rotimi Oyekanmi, spokesman to the INEC Chairman, on Monday, read: “It is quite unfortunate that at this particular period when the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) is busy trying to conclude the remaining governorship and state houses of assembly elections, the Peoples Democratic Party has embarked on making spurious and libelous allegations, without concrete proofs as usual.
“So far, the PDP has won in Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Enugu, Oyo, Abia, Cross River and Delta states according to the results declared by INEC. Interestingly, the PDP has not accused INEC of rigging the elections in these states.
“Sadly, the PDP has also not deemed it fit to commiserate with the families of our ad hoc staff and other Nigerians who lost their lives, including those who were injured in different parts of the country while trying to carry out their legitimate duties. This is rather unfortunate and regrettable.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Commission’s one and only interest in the 2019 general elections is to make votes count. It is to ensure free, fair and credible elections. When there is no interference with the electoral process and an election satisfies the provisions of the law, the Commission will always make a declaration of the results. But when there is interference or when an election fails to meet the requirements of the law, the Commission will not make a declaration.
“In the case of Rivers, the Commission was forced to suspend the election due to violence and threats to life, as a result of which it constituted a Fact Finding Committee to assess the situation and report back within 48 hours.
“In a couple of other states where a declaration was not immediately made, the elections did not meet the threshold required for such a declaration. The Commission will take the appropriate action prescribed by the law and make a declaration.”
The commission also appealed to Nigerians to “disregard allegations of bias being levelled against the Commission”.