Rigging allegation: Group, INEC disagree on Edo election

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An election observer group, under the aegis of Alliance for Credible Elections, has alleged that the just-concluded governorship election in Edo State “was scientifically rigged.”

The organisation warned that rigging must not be allowed to take place in the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State.

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, the Acting General Secretary of ACE, Mma Odi, alleged that the election was rigged scientifically by Independent National Electoral Commission at the point of collation of results.

But when contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, told The Punch that every single vote cast on September 28 was jealously protected.

He said, “INEC wishes to reiterate that the just-concluded Edo State governorship election was conducted within the ambit of the Electoral Law and the commission’s guidelines. The commission can confidently affirm that every single vote cast on September 28 was jealously safeguarded.

“While the entire process may not have been perfect, no part of the collation process was compromised. The commission has an e-tracking mechanism specifically designed to track results.”

But Odi described the Edo election as replica of the elections conducted in 2003 and 2007 under the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.

She alleged that the election saw a new innovation in rigging, saying it had taken the country to the dark days of the military era.

She advised INEC against playing partisan role in its responsibilities, especially in subsequent elections.

While advising the commission to put its house in order, ACE said the election, which saw two major participating political parties openly canvassing for votes at the polling units and aiding voters to cast their votes while inducing them, fell short of reasonable standard.

“INEC must take proactive steps to ensure that these activities do not take place at the polling units. The secrecy of voting must be protected,” she said.

PUNCH


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