The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has denied a story alleging that its Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, issued a directive at variance with the approved guidelines of the commission to distort Abia governorship election results collation.
The Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, advised the public to disregard the story as fake news
Mr Oyekanmi said that Mr Yakubu never called the Returning Officer to give her a directive.
“Rather, the Returning Officer wanted the official communication on the Commission’s decision to suspend the collation of results in Abia State.
“The Chairman then directed that pending the delivery of the hard copies, the soft copies of the Commission’s letter be forwarded immediately to the Resident Electoral Commissioner of Enugu State and the Administrative Secretary of Abia State.
“The Returning Officer for Abia State then directed that the contents of the letter be read aloud by the Administrative Secretary in the presence of agents of political parties, observers, the media and security personnel at the Collation Centre.
“This is what is now being mischievously interpreted as a directive to the returning officer on some phantom criteria at variance with the approved guidelines. There is nothing like that,” Mr Oyekanmi said.
Mr Oyekanmi added “in fact, the content of the letter is basically the same as the commission’s press release dated Monday March 20 which has since been uploaded to the Commission’s social media platforms and is already in the public domain.
“The public should disregard the story as fake news,” he said.
A portal, Strenuous Blog, had quoted the state returning officer as alleging that she was being forced to do the wrong thing.
It reported that INEC Presiding Officer in Abia State, Nnenna Oti, said that Mr Yakubu personally called her and gave her directives on guidelines to follow in ensuring that Abia governorship election results were collated based on some criteria.
The blog said that the Returning Officer said that on her own, she had decided that the will of Abia voters would not be subverted under her watch.