Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ebonyi State, Prof. Godswill Obioma, has confirmed that the Special Investigative Panel (SPIP) has invited him over a bribery allegation involving an INEC staff and other alleged electoral irregularities during the March 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections in the state.
Obioma, who confirmed the incident, noted that he was not arrested as alleged, but was only invited by the panel following an allegation that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) connived with some INEC staff to reduce votes of President Muhammadu Buhari and other candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
Obioma stated this while reacting to an allegation by the candidate of the APC for Ikwo and Ezza South Federal Constituency, Mr. Chinedu Ogah, that he was arrested by the panel for collecting N300 million bribe from a presidential candidate to reduce the president’s and other APC candidates votes in the state.
While noting that he had made official statements with the panel, the REC added that the alleged bribe didn’t involve him in any way but some of his staff in the state.
Ogah had alleged that the REC collected bribe from a presidential candidate which led to the reduction of about 15, 000 votes got by the president in Ikwo Local Government Area of the state.
Ogah said: “The results collation was supposed to be done at the polling units to ward to local government to the constituency office in Onueke and such a thing was not done. The votes of President Muhammadu Buhari were reduced and falsified.
The Ebonyi State REC, Prof. Godswill Obioma collected about three hundred million naira
“Another INEC officer was given a bribe of $300, 000 by a PDP candidate in the state. What we are asking REC is that if he claims that he is innocent of this allegation, why should they now fill ECG 40 G form on April 4th claiming that up to 31,000 votes were cancelled in Ikwo, but he used less than 7,000 votes to declare someone winner? If such a thing happened, is it not inconclusive?
“But such a thing did not happen because you want to make sure that you deliver on the money you have collected. There was no violence in Ikwo, and none of the Presiding Officers filled a form indicating that they cancelled the election. We have written to the INEC Chairman; we have written to the president; we have written to the REC”.
However, the REC described the allegation as ridiculous, noting that presidential votes were declared as collated, pointing out that altered and mutilated results which were being investigated had nothing to do with presidential votes but federal constituency votes.
“After the elections, we observed that results from two polling units in Ikwo and 20 from Ezza South were altered and mutilated, before they were brought to our office; that was after announcement of the results of that constituency. I promptly reported that matter to the headquarters who directed me to invite the police to investigate the source of the mutilation. In the last three weeks or one month, the police have been carrying out investigation regarding that, it does not concern Mr. President at all. Mr. President’s votes were not mutilated at all”.
Obioma explained that he was invited by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel following an allegation that PDP connived with some INEC staff to reduce votes of the APC.
He noted that he had responded to the allegations raised, noting that the allegations had nothing to do with him as a person but INEC as an electoral umpire.