INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Wednesday blasted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate in the October 20 election in Ondo State, Chief Olusola Oke, over what it described as baseless allegations about the conduct of the election in the media.
The INEC expressed its displeasure about the conduct of Oke in a statement signed by its Director of Legal Services, Mr. Oluwole Uzzi, in Akure saying that rather than casting aspersions on the commission in the media, Oke, being a legal practitioner, should seek redress in a court of law.
The PDP candidate had in a statement issued on Monday by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Mr. Kunle Adebayo, alleged that INEC, the police, Department of State Service, Army and other security agencies, rigged the poll in favour of the Labour Party (LP) candidate, Dr Olusegun Mimiko.
He also alleged that both the commission and security services that operated in the state were part of the severe irregularities, widespread malpractices, vitiating distortions and perversions by INEC.
However, the commission in expressing its displeasure about Oke’s statement, wondered why he had failed to express his opinion “in a responsible, civil, and decorous manner, bereft of provocative and uncouth language, outright falsehood and wild, fanciful but unfounded assertions.”
The agency alleged that Oke, in his “vain and fruitless attempt to denigrate, discredit and belittle the nation’s progress and achievements in its path to free, fair and credible elections and a robust, enduring democracy, cast wild, baseless allegations against INEC without particulars.”
INEC said it was generally satisfied with the conduct of the election, the result of which it added, had been accepted and adjudged as credible and reflecting the wishes of the people of the state, by the electorate, the media and observers among others.
“No amount of blackmail or lies can discredit this because even prominent and respected Nigerians including the PDP have been gracious enough to congratulate the winner and commended INEC and the electorate.
”Mr. Adebayo’s principal (Oke), is a lawyer and he is certainly aware of the electoral dispute resolution mechanism enshrined in our constitution and laws.
“Any aggrieved person is, in accordance with the rule of law, encouraged to avail himself of this process, where the facts and evidence adduced are subject to forensic examination, and justice is dispensed according to law and proven fact, and not in sentiments or other whimsical notion.
“Having resolved to seek refuge in court as stated, why then, one wonders, did the author (of the statement) resort to taking umbrage in the mass media in an attempt to discredit, subvert and undermine a credible process?
“The commission wishes to reiterate that it stands by the sanctity of the voter register as well as by the declaration and return made, which was in accordance and in substantial compliance with extant laws and rules.
“It did not at anytime conspire or act in concert with anyone or institution contrary to law. It acted fairly, competently and professionally in its conduct of the October 20 election.
“INEC acted without fear or favour, affection or ill-will and in line with the law and international best practices and intends to continue doing so. No amount of blackmail or intimidation will deter it in this resolve” the statement.