Edo: We stand by Igini ― INEC chairman
•Says Mayaki, Imuse, others are shenanigans
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu on Tuesday broke his silence on allegation of financial inducement levelled against the Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Barrister Mike Igini.
Two members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign team for the Edo state governorship election, John Mayaki and Col David Imuse have accused Barrister Igini of holding a clandestine meeting with certain chieftains of the People’s Democratic Party with the motive of swinging the September 19 governorship election in favour of the main opposition party in the country.
But addressing newsmen at the INEC headquarters in Abuja shortly after a swearing-in ceremony for the new Resident Electoral Commissioner for Ekiti state, Dr
Adeniran Rahmon, the INEC Chairman said the allegation against Barrister Igini was baseless. He said it was the stock in trade of those he dismissed as shenanigans to try to malign the integrity of INEC officials on the eve of an election.
He said:” The REC himself responded and in my discussions with him on Monday, he said he has also asked his lawyers to initiate legal actions against the person who made the statement.
“So, we leave it at that since the matter is likely to go to court but let me also say this, that we stand by our Resident Electoral Commissioners. We know the kind of job we are doing on the eve of elections, all manner of people come with all manner of accusations to slander officials of the Commission and essentially to divert our attention from the onerous task of conducting elections in the country.
“We won’t be distracted. We know all these shenanigans, people have been doing this for a long time. It will not distract us from doing what is right. My assurance to the people of Edo and the people of Ondo and then the people of the 13 constituencies where we are going to conduct bye-elections on October 31 is that they should expect from INEC free, fair and credible elections. We will not compromise our oath of office for any reason. Whoever the people vote for becomes their governor or representative. This is our assurance to Nigerians.”
He also restated his assurance to the Edo electorate as he disclosed that his Commission has continued to engage stakeholders towards the conduct of a peaceful electoral process.
“We have consistently expressed our anxiety on the conduct of political actors and their supporters. It was for that reason that I went to Benin and spent three days last week. Part of what we did was to engage with our own staff and ensure that they behave according to the law and we also engaged with the security agencies. We visited important stakeholders including the Oba of Benin. So, we are concerned but we are leaving no stone unturned in speaking to the political actors.”
Earlier while addressing the new REC for Ekiti state, Professor Yakubu advised Dr Rahmon to be diligent in his duty and manage the resources put at his disposal, prudently.
” You should manage resources prudently. You should be firm and always be on the side of the people. ”