The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has called for the immediate resignation of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, following what it called his alleged controlling role in the “fraudulent manipulations” that it said characterised the September 22 governorship election in Osun State.
The PDP also demanded the resignation of the commission’s Director of Operations, Mrs Amina Zakari, who heads the Information and Communications Technology Department, where the party alleged that the election results were altered to favour the All Progressives Congress, APC.
This was as the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, of INEC in Osun state, Segun Agbaje clarified the controversy surrounding the election result of Ayedaade local government area in the governorship election, after an official of the commission named Mutiu Salawu, was assaulted by a mob for allegedly tearing election result at St. Patrick Grammar School, Gbongan.
Agbaje said the action of Salawu did not affect the result collated at the INEC head office, affirming that Dele Adeleke, agent of the PDP at the state collation center, attested to the fact that the result announced tallied with what he recorded ahead of the announcement.
Addressing a press conference at the PDP national secretariat in Abuja on Tuesday, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, claimed that they have documentary evidence of how INEC, through its Operations and ICT Department, doctored results from polling centers, directly shortchanged the PDP with no fewer than 4,387 votes by slashing votes cast for the PDP at the polling centers while allocating fictitious figures to the APC.
He said, “It is completely inexcusable that Prof Yakubu presides over an atrocious and compromised electoral umpire that manipulates electoral processes, doctors figures, allocates fictitious votes and subverts the will of the people in an election.
“The PDP has additional documentary evidence of how this compromised INEC, through its Operations and ICT Department, doctored results from polling centres, directly shortchanged the PDP with no fewer than 4,387 votes by slashing votes cast for the PDP at the polling centres while allocating fictitious figures to the APC.
“The PDP has facts on how INEC slashed over 1,000 votes freely cast by the people for our candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, in Ayedaade Local Government Area, just to reduce our votes from our legitimate 10,836 votes cast at the polling centres to 9,836 votes so as to give APC the lead with a 1,000 vote margin in the local government.
“Also, the PDP has evidence of how INEC, while collating results, directly allocated over 1,367 fictitious votes to the APC in Olorunda Local Government Area, to fraudulently shore up the APC votes to duplicitous 16,254 votes.
“This is in addition to evidence of how INEC awarded over 2,000 fictitious votes in favour of the APC in Oshogbo to push APC’s vote to 23,379 against the actual 21,479 votes scored by the defeated party.”
Ologbondiyan added that the alleged writing of results by INEC in collusion with the APC occurred in many other areas, which he said led to INEC’s ill-fated directives to its junior officials, including the one apprehended in Ayedaade, to destroy results already displayed at polling and collation centres.
He added, “It was after INEC and the APC realised that despite their manipulation of figures, our candidate still scored the highest number of votes, making him the clear winner of the election, that they decided to fraudulently apply unconstitutional grounds to declare the election inconclusive.
“From the facts available to us, INEC robbed our party of over 4,387 votes. Our actual winning margin stands at 4,740 votes against the 353 votes declared by INEC.”
Ologbondiyan said the PDP had also discovered schemes perfected by INEC to rig its planned supplementary election in favour of the APC.
“The PDP is already aware that INEC has increased the original number of voters in the affected polling centres by over 850 so as to expand its latitude to manipulate results with uncollected Permanent Voter Cards, a development, which further shows INEC’s determination to rig the election for the APC.”
He added, “While Prof. Mahmood Yakubu can no longer be trusted to conduct the 2019 general election, it is public knowledge that Mrs Amina Zakari, the INEC Director in charge of Operations and ICT, is a direct blood relation of Mr President and as such, we believe that she cannot be an impartial arbiter in an election involving her uncle.
However, the Resident Electoral Commission in Osun State, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, has said that the commission did not connive with the APC to deduct the votes scored by Senator Adeleke.
He said INEC did not also inflate the figure of the votes scored by the candidate of the APC, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola.
He said, “They did not raise the issue of the figure that day. The one they raised the question on in Ayedaade Local Government was resolved and they discovered that they were wrong.
“INEC did not deduct any candidate’s votes or inflated any figure. I have always said that the people of the state would determine who their governor would be. It is unfair that politicians are accusing INEC of fraud and they are accusing the returning officer who is a Vice-Chancellor of a reputable university, calling him names. If this continues, we may have a problem getting this caliber of people to work for us in the future.”
The Chairman of the PDP in Osun State, Mr Soji Adagunodo, had warned INEC against releasing the unclaimed PVCs to the APC ahead of the rerun poll.
Reacting to the figure of unclaimed PVCs, Agbaje said the commission had earlier given out soft copies of the voter register to all political parties and they could get the actual number of voters with PVCs from the register.
He said, “We are not hiding anything here. We gave out soft copies of voter registers to all political parties and all the information are contained there. But I know that not all those who collected their PVCs would come to vote because some would have died, some relocated and some may not be interested in voting. But we are calling on them to come out and vote.”
A video had gone viral wherein an INEC official, Salawu was heard saying a senior official of the commission asked him to tear the sheet. This sparked a controversy, while some activists and groups asked INEC to prosecute those involved in the act.
But at a press conference on Tuesday, the INEC REC in Osun State, Agbaje said the sheet which was torn had an erroneous result and that the electoral official was acting on a directive to replace it with the correct one when he was attacked.
He said the local government security chief had informed Aderinoye Olukemi, electoral officer for Ayedaade, of the error on the form pasted at the collation centre and that she handed down the instruction afterwards.
According to the REC, “The Commission wishes to put the record straight in respect of the issues that have gone viral on the conduct of one of our staff, Mutiu Salawu, in Ayedaade LGA on Sunday 23′ September 2018 at the St. Patrick Grammar School Gbongan around 8am after the submission of Results of the Election by the Ayedaade Local Government Collation Officer at the State Collation Centre.
“The Electoral Officer for Ayedaade LGA Mrs. Aderinoye Olukemi Alice, on the information she received from the Local Government Security Chief (LGSC), that there was an error on the Form EC 60 (E) INEC PUBLICATION OF RESULT OF POLL Poster, pasted at the Local Government Collation Centre i.e St. Patrick Grammar School Gbongan, and after cross-checking the results sheet for the collation EC 8C to confirm the information, called her staff Mutiu Salawu, to remove the pasted EC 60 (E) poster with error and replace it with a correct one.
“Mr. Mutiu Salawu being a dutiful staff went to carry out the lawful instruction of his boss when he was accosted by a mob that rough handled him before they took him to Adelani Rafiu Oyediran Ajanaku’s house along the New Gbongan Osogbo Road. There he was humiliated, harassed and subjected to take manipulated photographs that were sent to various social digital platforms. He was then brought to the INEC State Office where he was harassed by some section of the media.”
Agbaje continued, “Let me at this juncture put the record straight and inform the good people of Osun State and Nigerians, the correct position of the event.
“The LGA Collation Officer Prof. Adeagbo accepted the fact that there was an error in the EC 60 (E) pasted at the LGA Collation Centre especially the figure (10,836) recorded for PDP on the poster which is different from the actual votes scored (9,836) by the PDP.
“It should be noted that the INEC staff, Salawu, Mutiu Kolawole did not destroy the Result Sheet for the said election for they are intact in the custody of the Commission and copies of same are with agents of the 48 Political Parties that contested the Governorship Election.
“The Commission is displeased with the conduct of a section of the press that repeatedly broadcast the event maliciously without proper investigation to know the true position of things. This attitude has misinformed the public and INEC has been misrepresented in the narrative.”
Agbaje also went into details on the polling units where the rerun election would hold on Thursday.
“In Adereti Village, there was disruption of election by hoodlums who shot sporadically and in the process of scampering for safety, the Presiding Officer misplaced the form EC8A for the PU and all efforts to get it proved abortive,” he said.
“Ife South Osi Ward 8 PU10, Aluti Erin Primary School, Albert village, election was conducted with manual accreditation.
“In Orolu Ward 08 PU001, Kajola village, there was hijacking of materials by thugs. The case was not different in Ward 08 PU004 Idi Iya village and Ward 09 PU 003 Gbogbo Primary School in Orolu. Presiding Officer absconded in Osogbo Ataoja Ward 05 PU 017 Adewole Street.
“The total number of registered voters in these places is 3,498,” the resident electoral commissioner stated.