INEC Denies Allegations of Rigging in Adamawa Governorship Rerun
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has issued a statement denying allegations that its officials deployed to supervise the Adamawa State Governorship rerun were involved in rigging the polls for the incumbent governor, Ahmadu Fintiri.
The statement, issued by INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, refutes claims made by a candidate in the recently concluded Adamawa State Governorship election that INEC officials undermined the electoral process after a discreet nocturnal visit to the Government House, during which they received a list of collation and returning officers from one of the candidates.
Okoye’s statement categorically denies these allegations, stating that no such visit or meeting took place and that the compilation of any purported list of collation and returning officers would have been contrary to the oath of neutrality that all officials had sworn to uphold. He goes on to clarify that the Commission appointed and retained only one Returning Officer for the Governorship election, who also doubled as the State Collation Officer for the Presidential Election, and that the list of Collation Officers was forwarded to the State with every page of the list personally endorsed by the Chairman of the Commission well ahead of the arrival of the National Commissioners.
Okoye also addresses claims made in the same press statement that the national headquarters of the Commission specifically targeted Adamawa State in its deployment of National Commissioners and other officials with the sole intention of influencing the outcome of the supplementary election held on Saturday 25th April 2023 and sidelining the REC. He clarifies that this is not the case, stating that it has been the standard policy and practice of the Commission to deploy National Commissioners, RECs, and other staff from the headquarters or neighboring States for supplementary or off-cycle elections where doing so is considered necessary.
Okoye explains that, in the case of Adamawa State, two National Commissioners were deployed for the supplementary governorship election held in 69 polling units. Similarly, in Kebbi State involving 142 polling units, three National Commissioners were deployed, while one National Commissioner each was deployed to Sokoto, Zamfara, Imo, Rivers, Ekiti, and Ogun States. This has been the standard practice of the Commission, and all RECs are informed in advance. Therefore, Adamawa State was not specifically targeted, and in all other States, the RECs worked cooperatively with the National Commissioners except in Adamawa State for reasons that are now obvious to all.
Finally, Okoye advises the public to discountenance these insinuations as nothing more than a claptrap and warns those behind the mischief to desist forthwith as such fabrications have endangered the lives of the officials engaged in legitimate election duties. He expects well-meaning citizens to act within the bounds of propriety and decency.