The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has promised to investigate claims of intimidation and results tampering that occurred during the governorship and state assembly elections on Saturday.
Festus Okoye, the head of the commission’s information and voter education committee, spoke on behalf of INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu at a press conference on Sunday in Abuja.
Yakubu said in keeping with the commission’s promise of improved electoral process, majority of the polling units opened on schedule, and there was improvement in the use of the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) and uploading of results to the INEC result viewing portal (IReV).
He said there were, however, unforeseen circumstances outside the commission’s control which led to the disruption of elections in some areas.
“Such diabolical behaviour did not only affect citizens but also impacted on the commission’s officials and processes. INEC staff, both regular and ad hoc, were victims of violence. Some of our staff were abducted, harassed, intimidated, hospitalised, and in one case killed,” he said.
“Nevertheless, where we could not deploy to enable citizens to vote, the commission took the decision to remobilise to such places to enable citizens to exercise their franchise.
“Unfortunately, we could not extend the same to areas where voting was disrupted and election materials destroyed. We are keeping our eyes on those areas and would not hesitate to remobilise where the outcome of the election is affected.
“At the moment, collation of results and declaration of winners for the 28 governorship and 993 state assembly elections are ongoing nationwide. We are committed to the sanctity of the process and will not hesitate to take drastic measures against proven irregularities.
“Allegations of voter inducement, harassment, and manipulation of results will be reviewed and addressed.”
Okoye also spoke on the invasion of INEC’s office in Obingwa LGA in Abia state by thugs during the collation of results for the governorship and state assembly elections.
“The intention was to force the collation of these contentious results. The behaviour of these thugs is unacceptable and there will be a thorough review of the results,” he added.
“The commission does not take the patience of citizens for granted and will continue to take steps to protect the integrity of the vote and consolidate the progress made so far in the electoral process.”