The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, on Tuesday, confronted the Independent National Electoral Commission with video evidence of pre-loading of card readers in the state.
The challenge came a day after a National Commissioner with INEC, Mrs Aminat Zakari, challenged the governor to prove allegations that she had conspired with three others to pre-load card readers, supply faulty card readers and provide ballot papers for stuffing of ballot boxes.
Fayose also tackled the Commissioner of Police, Mr Ahmed Bello and the Director of the Department of State Services, Mrs Promise Ihenacho, for allegedly deploying security aides of former governor Kayode Fayemi to Ekiti State to rig the July 14 governorship election.
The governor pointed out that Fayemi’s ex-Chief Security Officer, Hakeem Abiola, and former Aide de camp, Adeyemi Ajayi, were already in the state to coordinate indiscriminate arrest of the members of the opposition.
Fayose spoke at a town hall meeting organised by the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room for governorship candidates in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday.
The Chairman on the occasion, Mr Clement Nwakwo, said the essence of the meeting was to extract assurances from INEC, security agencies and candidates that the coming election would be credible.
He said, “We are going to hold INEC accountable for whatever happens and that is why it is good for the security to be helpful and we know they won’t default in this regard.”
The governor tendered video evidence of people allegedly pre-loading card readers in Akure ahead of the July 14 governorship election to the National Commissioner in charge of Ekiti, Osun and Oyo states, Mr Solomon Soyebi.
Fayose said, “This is the evidence of people pre-loading card readers in Akure. Any officer who is seen to be biased should be relieved of any sensitive assignment.”
But dismissing the video, Soyebi said the card readers to be used for the election were already in Ekiti and had not been configured.
“I know the information will come to you, but they are fake. The card readers will only start working on the day of the election. A lot of people will be giving you information, a lot of them will be fake,” he said.
Also, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakub, described the governor’s allegations as untrue and baseless.
Yakub in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Rotimi Oyekanmi, stressed that it was impossible for anyone to rig the election in favour of any candidate.
Rather than malign them at press conferences, Yakub urged the governor to make any evidence of wrongdoing available to the Commission for appropriate action.”
“We wish to emphasise that it is impossible for the Commission’s officials, any individual or group for that matter to pre-load the Smart Card Readers or provide ballot papers for stuffing as alleged,” he said.
Yakub explained that the SCRs performed three functions: identifying, verifying and authenticating the voter and the PVC, adding that it could only function on the election day.
“In addition to the results sheets that we issue to party agents at the Polling Units and at every level of collation, the Commission also deliberately introduced Form EC60E to show election results at the Polling Units, which is the most important level. This form is pasted at every Polling Unit after collation,” he added.
INEC reiterated its resolve to conduct a credible, free and fair election that would be a model for other elections in Nigeria.