The Independent National Electoral Commission has debunked claims that its officials deployed to supervise the Adamawa State Governorship rerun paid a nocturnal visit to the state Government House prior the D-Day, to rig the poll for the incumbent Governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri.
According to SaharaReporters, this was contained in a statement released by INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye on Thursday, maintaining that the electoral body followed due process while appointing their officials for the Adamawa supplementary poll.
On Tuesday, Fintiri, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, was declared the winner of the dramatic supplementary election held in the state by the returning officer for the state, Prof. Mohammed Mele.
Fintiri polled a total of 430,861 votes to defeat the All Progressives Congress candidate, Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (aka. Binani) who came second with 398,788 votes.
The statement read, “The attention of the Commission has been drawn to a Press Statement by a candidate in the recently concluded Adamawa State Governorship election in which officials deployed for legitimate duty in the State was alleged to have undermined the electoral process after a discreet “nocturnal” visit to the Government House and ostensibly met with one of the candidates in the election who gave them a list of “collation and returning officers” deployed for the election.
“Ordinarily, the Commission does not join issues with partisan actors, particularly where no evidence has been provided.
“To set the record straight, no such visit or meeting took place let alone the compilation of any purported list of collation and returning officers. Such a meeting would have been contrary to the oath of neutrality that we all swore to. Moreover, every conscientious observer would have noticed 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 (SCOPE).
“Like all Returning Officers nationwide, he was issued with a letter of appointment by the Commission and the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Adamawa State was duly informed. The list of Collation Officers was also 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.
“Similarly, the same Press Statement created the impression 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. Nothing can be further from the truth.
“For the record, it has been the standard policy and practice of the Commission to deploy National Commissioners, RECs and other staff from the headquarters or neighbouring states for supplementary or off-cycle elections where doing so is considered necessary.
“The public is advised to discountenance these insinuations as nothing more than a claptrap. We also advise those behind the mischief to desist forthwith as such fabrications have endangered the lives of our officials (both ad hoc and regular) engaged in legitimate election duties. We expect well-meaning citizens to act within the bounds of propriety and decency.”