It was gathered that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday denied complicity in the alleged printing election Result Sheets in Rivers State.
The commission in a statement by its secretary, Mrs. Augusta C. Ogakwu, said the grave allegation of complicity in this illegality is of great concern to the Commission, stressing that it is liaising with the Security Agencies, particularly the Police, to unravel the circumstances surrounding the fraudulent activity.
This comes as a pro-democracy group, Alliance in Defence of Democracy (ADD) on Tuesday stormed INEC’s national headquarters and demanded the resignation of the chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, and the National Commissioner in charge of operations, Amina Zakari, over their alleged complicity in the production of fake election result sheets for Rivers state re-run poll.
The group further warned that the action is capable of obstructing the country’s democracy.
Recall that the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, had on Monday accused INEC, the Nigerian Police and the All Progressives Congress, (APC) of colluding to rig the forthcoming Rivers Rerun elections.
But according to INEC, “The Independent National Electoral Commission observes that shortly after the publication of the new date for the State and National Assembly re-run elections in Rivers State, the media reported the arrest of several persons allegedly printing Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC’s) election Result Sheets. Certain commentators have accused the Commission of being complicit in this.
“The Commission hereby states categorically that it has no knowledge whatsoever of this reported printing and did not commission the company allegedly involved or anyone in Rivers Sate to print any electoral materials for it.
“The grave allegation of complicity in this illegality is of great concern to the Commission and it is liaising with the Security Agencies, particularly the Police, to unravel the circumstances surrounding this fraudulent activity. For emphasis. the Commission is committed to ensuring that a thorough investigation is carried out. “For the record, lNEC states that, in compliance with legal requirements, it issues on request Certified True Copies (CTCs) of Result sheets and other public documents to all applicants. Following the elections of Saturday 19”1 March, 2016, most political parties and candidates applied, paid prescribed fees and were issued these Certified True Copies.
“Furthermore. in line with legal requirements, ALL Political Parties and contestants in the Rivers State Elections as well as other stakeholders. were given a list of all Senatorial Districts, Federal and State Constituencies as well as all polling units where the re-run elections are to take place. Against this background the Commission asserts that the allegation by some pe0ple that the is w known or disclosed to a particular party is untrue.
“It will be recalled that the Commission lost a young man. a serving National Youth Service Corps member, and its Khana Local Government Area Office was burnt. This is in addition to other acts of violence that occurred in its earlier attempts to conduct the election. INEC wishes to appeal to all stakeholders in Rivers State to maintain temperate language in their comments and engagements regarding developments in the State, as we prepare to conclude the elections. ,
“INEC is committed to delivering elections that are free, fair and credible and it hereby appeals to all stakeholders to ensure that the Rivers State elections are concluded in a peaceful, conducive, safe and calm atmosphere.
“The Commission hereby reiterates its commitment to conducting free, fair and credible elections in Rivers State. However, its commitment to carrying out its mandate cannot be accomplished without the cooperation of all stakeholders.
“False, frivolous and unsubstantiated assertions that have the potential of eroding or undermining public confidence in the Commission’s activities are unacceptable.
“On its part, the Commission assures all stakeholders that preparations for the elections scheduled for 10‘h December, 2016 are in top gear.”
But addressing ADD protesters at the headquarters of INEC in Abuja, the Secretary of the group, Agu Okwukwe said they were disappointed and shocked over the alleged complicity of the INEC in the entire saga.
Okwukwe said that events trailing the fixing of the date for the re-run elections in Rivers state reveals that a clear collusion between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the INEC until the senate rose to force them to fix a date for the elections.
He raised posers as to how the arrested printer got the serial number of the materials they were printing when the numbers were to e known to only the INEC leadership.
“It must not be swept under the Nigerian carpet, in fact it must be conclusive investigation immediately and everyone directly and remotely involved be brought to book. Actions such as this are akin to the incidents that led to the notorious 1963 wild-wild West election crises which ultimately to the return of military rue in that year.
“That the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Yakubu and the National Commissioner in charge of elections, Amina Zakari resign immediately from office over their complicity in the production of the fake INEC result sheets.
“That the Police conduct a thorough and expeditious investigation into the allegations of printing of fake result sheets and come out with an official statement and not succumb to pressure from the enemies of the state to destroy the heaps of evidence and sweep the matter under the carpet.
“Immediate arraignment and diligent persecution of all persons involved in the production of the fake result sheets including Prof. Yakubu, Amina Zakari, Senator Magnus Abe, Dakuku Peterside and former Chibuike Amaechi,” he said.