- Commission challenges party to provide proof
Chuks Okocha in Abuja
Ahead of the September 19 governorship election in Edo State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday accused a National Commissioner of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Dr. Mohammed Lecky, of tampering with the lists of supervisory presiding officers (SPOs) and assistant presiding officers (APOs).
Lecky is in charge of election planning and monitoring.
The PDP also accused Lecky of aiding the All Progressives Congress (APC) in cloning permanent voters register to be used to rig the election.
But the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education, Mr. Festus Okoye, dismissed the allegations and challenged PDP to forward the evidence to the commission.
PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, at a press conference in Abuja, urged the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to speak out, adding that Lecky’s alleged actions could affect the integrity of the commission and the election.
PDP also explained that the three Edo State commissioners who resigned from the cabinet of the Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, were those imposed on him by a former National Chairman of APC, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole.
Ologbondiyan said: “We have information and we want INEC to speak out on the allegation that one of its national commissioners, Muhammed Mustapha Lecky, is being used by Adams Oshiomhole and Ize-Iyamu to manipulate supervisory presiding officers (SPOs) and local government presiding officers (POs) in respect of the election of September 19 and we are challenging Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to speak out on this matter on the role that Mustapha Mohammed Lecky will play in this election.
“It is not enough for one character to sit down in Edo State and point accusing fingers. We are talking about what we have heard, especially as it concerns manipulation in INEC and we are asking Prof. Yakubu Mahmoud to speak on it.
“We also heard that he is busy changing the list of ad hoc staff recruited by INEC and collecting names from Ize-Iyamu and the former National Chairman of APC, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, and reflecting such new names in the INEC list among those who will work for the commission on Election Day.
“PDP has information that INEC is working in cahoots with the APC and their candidate to allow the use of cloned PVC on the day of the election; we have all these allegations and we want to assure the people of Edo State that the PDP is following up and seeking strategies to neutralise all these game plans.
“But notwithstanding, we believe that INEC owes it as a responsibility to give assurances to the people that what we are hearing in the public space, particularly as it concerns INEC, the APC and Prof. Yakubu as well as Dr. Mohammed Mustapha Lecky is not correct. INEC needs to address that.”
He stated that the PDP had received assurances from security agencies of their neutrality during the election, adding that “we also demand that they walk their talk during the election.”
He said the PDP and its supporters would not allow their votes to be stolen as they would be ready to protect them.
But Okoye dismissed all the allegations, saying: “Those with proof of tampering or doctoring or compromised list of supervisory presiding officers should forward the same with the evidence. The long-standing policy of the commission, which is in the public domain, is to recruit supervisory presiding officers from Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the federal government.
“These categories of officers apply for the recruitment through INEC dedicated portal with their photographs, identity cards and attestation. The applicants are further vetted before they are issued with letters of appointment.
“All the political parties were availed of their statutory right to nominate polling agents. The commission is constitutionally mandated to organise, undertake and supervise elections. Plotting and conspiracy do not form part of the mandate of the commission. Our responsibility is to organise good and acceptable elections in Edo and Ondo States.”