22 Apr 2015

"No proof of irregularities in Rivers’ Governorship Election" - INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, on Tuesday in Abuja said there was no evidence before the commission to substantiate the allegation that the governorship election in Rivers State was marred by irregularities.

Jega, who spoke at a dialogue with Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s) under the aegis of Situation Room, stated that the commission on getting the petition of irregularities in the state sent three national commissioners to investigate it.

He added that the reports submitted by the team did not show any irregularities in the election.
He said: “We have no power to cancel elections results once returns have been made. On the petition against election irregularities in Rivers State, the commission sent three national commissioners to the state to investigate it. Some people don’t want elections to hold, they are the ones calling for cancellation.

“We investigated the allegation of fake result sheets in Rivers, our reports showed that there was nothing like that,” he stated.
The INEC boss further stated that the commission was already in partnership with the police and the Nigerian Bar Association NBA to prosecute electoral offenders.

He noted that one offender had already been prosecuted in Adamawa State and was sentenced to six months imprisonment for being in illegal possession of Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC).

He, however, called on anyone that has evidence of electoral offences to bring such to the commission, with a promise that the commission would investigate the claim.

On the planned supplementary elections in Abia State, Jega said that the elections would hold only in the wards where election was cancelled and not in the entire three local government areas.

There had been complaints of irregularities, violence and allegations of connivance of INEC officials and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to rig elections in favour of the candidate of PDP in Rivers State.

Governor Chibuike Amaechi was the first to raise the alarm on election day. He described the election as a sham shortly after voting in his native Ubima Community in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.

Amaechi spoke while fielding questions from journalists after casting his vote at Ward 8, Unit 14, Ubima in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the State at about 2.30pm.

He said the elections were fraught with thuggery and ballot box snatching in most parts of the state coupled with violence.
The governor said: “I think it is a sham. You noticed what happened in Omagwa, what happened was that somebody called me and said they were being attacked at a particular polling booth and I went there, the thugs were overwhelming until another group of soldiers came before they ran away.
He noted that the Nigerian Police failed in their responsibility to the people to provide peaceful atmosphere for the electoral process.
“I think there must have been an arrangement between the police and the PDP for the state to be overrun by thugs and you know, the funniest part is that the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) promised us over 2,800 mobile policemen. What you see is just one Deputy Commissioner of Police, John Amadi, conniving with the PDP to orchestrate all these violence against APC members and Rivers people.

“Yesterday (eve of the election), Mr. President (Goodluck Jonathan) withdrew the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) Tunde Ogunsaki and ordered him to go back to Calabar just because he arrested a DPO who took out four wards result sheets and gave to militants working for PDP”.
He blamed the retention of INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Gesila Khan, for the cause of election malpractices in the state.
“If INEC had posted the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) away, we wouldn’t have been here. If the Commissioner of Police and the President had allowed the police to function properly, we won’t be here.”
Credit: ThisDay

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