Accusations and counter-accusations have started flying around over plans by major political parties, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and All Progressives Congress, APC, ahead of the July 14 governorship elelction in Ekiti, to compromise the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, writes ALO ABIOLA.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is the body put in place by law to organise, conduct and oversee state and federal elections in Nigeria.
INEC was established in accordance with the Section 153 (f) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended).
Its functions as stipulated in part I of the third schedule to the 1999 constitution included, to organise and supervise all elections to the offices of the President and Vice-President, the Governor and the Deputy Governor of a state and to the membership of the Senate, the House of Representatives and House of Assembly of each State of the Federation.
Other functions of the electoral body includes , registration of political parties, monitoring of their activities, registration of persons of voting age as well as preparation, maintenance of voters register for the purpose of election.
The commission is also saddled with the responsibilities of monitoring political campaigns, provide rules and regulations governing the campaign activities of the parties and ensuring that electoral commissioners, electoral and returning officers take and subscribe to the oath of office prescribed by law among others.
It is also to be guided by values of autonomy to carry out its functions free from external control and influence, display openess and transparency in its activities and maintain truthfulness and honesty in its dealings with all stakeholders in any election.
INEC is also expected to be impartial in the conduct of all elections by creating a level playing field for all political parties and display high level of credibility by making sure that no action is taking in favour of a candidate or parties to the detriment of others and making fairness and justice in dealing with all stakeholders.
The electoral body has been living up to its duties over the years by conducting free, fair and credible poll across the country. But in spite of this, it is a common place to hear candidates and their political parties accusing their opponents of conniving with the body to rig an upcoming poll.
This has always been the situation whenever state or National Assembly election, governorship or presidential poll are to be held in any state of the federation or the country at large.
Accusation and counter accusations of rigging an impending election is common between the ruling party in the state and major opposition party in the state or country.
It is therefore not different in the case of Ekiti State, as ahead of July 14 governorship election in Ekiti state, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the major opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, have been accusing each other of plotting to rig the poll.
Even though, no fewer than 35 political parties have been announced by INEC to participate in the election, none of the remaining 33 parties have come out with such allegation against one another, all except the APC and PDP.
Drawing INEC into the antics being employed by the parties to get sympathy of the electorate has always been a source of concern to the electoral body in the state.
INEC at different fora have severally allayed the fears of the candidates, political parties, electorate and other stakeholders in the election that it will conduct a free, fair and credible poll that will be acceptable to all in Ekiti State.
The Ekiti State Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Prof. Abdulganiy Raji, at an event recently in Ado Ekiti, the state capital assured that the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State and the 2019 general elections will be better than the previous polls conducted by the commission.
Raji said part of what will make Ekiti gubernatorial election a huge success was the fact that Ekiti was ranked the best state in Nigeria in terms peaceful conduct during elections based on the outcome of the 2014 governorship election.
He spoke during a voter education programme tagged: ‘Vote Not Fight: Election No Be War,’ organised by a non-governmental organisation the New Generation Girls and Women Development Initiative, NIGAWD.
Raji, who was represented by the commission’s Public Relations Officer in the state, Alhaji Taiwo Gbadegesin said, “The 2015 general elections people said were largely successful, will be nothing compared to the elections that will be conducted in Ekiti and 2019.
“During the June 21, 2014 governorship election in Ekiti, there was no case of ballot snatching, no killing and this had made the INEC to rank Ekiti the best in Nigeria. As we speak, Ekiti is leading on INEC records.
“Let me advise Ekiti people and Nigerians to have confidence in us. They should forget the noise that the election will be rigged. No election can be rigged again in Nigeria with the kind of technology we have put in place.
“The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu and our REC are distinguished academics and they have said no pressure can make them rig elections.
“We appeal to our governorship candidates and particularly the youths to be good ambassadors of this state, so we can have a hitch-free election in Ekiti.
Few days after, the Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, raised the alarm that the APC and the INEC are colluding to preload card readers to be used for the July 14 governorship election in the state with a view to manipulating the poll in favour of the APC candidate, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
The governor, is said to have alleged while featuring on a live radio and television programme in Ado-Ekiti, the ‘Governor Explains’. Fayose therefore urged the people of the state to be vigilant during the election and challenge any strange face they see.
But the Director of Media and Publicity of the Kayode Fayemi Campaign Organisation, Wole Olujobi, in swift reaction said that Fayose’s allegation that the APC candidate is manipulating ballot in Akure, Ondo State capital, ahead of the July 14poll, is the consequence of the ghost of the Federal Government-backed 2014 poll fraud haunting him.
Olujobi in a statement said, “We are not surprised that conscience, for the first time, is pricking Fayose over his unprecedented, historic and historical 2014 poll fraud criminally masterminded by him to win that election.
“All Nigerians and indeed peoples of the world heard how Fayose led top PDP members backed by the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to criminally manipulate the electoral process that returned him to power.
“That experience is now haunting Fayose, who believes that President Muhammadu Buhari is also a crime-inclined President who will take his pound of flesh for the 2014 election heist that returned Fayose to power.
Leadership Crisis Hindering NBBF Sponsorship Drive – Kida
The Gathering Storm In Edo APC
ExxonMobil, Other Oil Coys Not Leaving Nigeria, Says Kachikwu
China: Connecting The World Through Belt & Road
How APC Won 2019 Elections – Bulama
NEWS13 hours ago
Train Derailment Delays Free Train Ride
NEWS14 hours ago
Man Chops Off Finger After Voting For Wrong Party
NEWS21 hours ago
Oyetola, Ooni Task Security Chiefs On Infiltration Of Bandits
NEWS14 hours ago
Minimum Wage: NLC, TUC Laud Buhari Over Assent
SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY15 hours ago
Renewable Energy: ICT, Finance, Others, Priority Areas To Improve Women’s Access
NEWS19 hours ago
Onnoghen Conviction Victory For Corruption Fight – Presidency
NEWS15 hours ago
JRT’s 12th Festival of Theatre To Entice Present Internet Generation To The Stage
AFRICA14 hours ago
Easter: 13 Dies As Church Collapse In South Africa