An electoral officer, Okeke Chukwujekwu, in charge of Idemili North local government area of Anambra State, is currently in police detention over his role in the November 16, governorship election in the state.
A principal actor in the controversial election, Okeke made an eye opening revelation to his interrogators in Abuja.
Okeke told the police investigators that although he had a hand in the flawed poll of the area he was assigned to, he did not do it alone and added that he was “being used and dumped”.
Leadership Newspapers reports:
The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, had, in the heat of the controversies generated by the flawed poll, admitted that the “electoral officer” in Idemili North “messed up” and that he would be handed over to the police for prosecution.
Chukwujekwu was moved to Abuja on Sunday, just as INEC said it was conducting a probe into the deliberate sabotage of the governorship election.
A top official involved in the election confided in LEADERSHIP yesterday that the arrested INEC official had made useful statements even as he was apprehensive that top directors of INEC might be “implicated”.
“The way this whole thing is going, it looks as if many heads will roll in INEC because the young man has made useful statements and if what he said is anything to rely upon, it then means that some big names in that commission might fall with him.
“At first, he was trying to rationalise his action in that local government area when he was verbally quizzed before the intervention of the police; but, after some time, especially at the point of his detention, he started to cooperate but the cooperation is loaded because he has mentioned some top officials of INEC, especially directors and a PDP chieftain, as those who ‘put him in trouble’.
Although the source declined to disclose the identities of those involved, he said “preliminary confessions” point to the fact that the bungled election in most LGAs of the state was “packaged by aggrieved politicians in connivance with top INEC officials both in Abuja and Awka” adding: “It was a well-funded package.”
“All fingers point to some aggrieved politicians and it was a well-funded package that involved quite a lot of people; that is why the man is saying he has been used and dumped,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jega has said all enquiries regarding arrests made in the bungled Anambra election should be referred to the police.
Jega’s chief press secretary, Kayode Idowu, told LEADERSHIP on the telephone that INEC would not comment on the arrested official who allegedly played a key role in the flawed poll.
“One, I cannot say anything on his matter because the police has taken over a larger chunk of the matter; only the police can say something on the role of the man arrested and how far they have gone with their investigation; so you have to contact the police.
“Again, it will be out of place for me to reel out what the commission intends to do. Mind you, INEC is also carrying out its administrative interrogation on his matter,” he said.
INEC does not need court order to cancel tainted poll – APC
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused INEC of being economical with the truth by saying only the courts can order the cancellation of last Saturday’s governorship election in Anambra in which about 1.3 million of the 1.7 million registered voters were unable to exercise their franchise.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday by its interim national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party reminded INEC that it did not wait for a court order to cancel the National Assembly elections in 2011 when it was obvious that many voters across the country could not vote due to the late arrival or non-delivery of voting materials.
‘’In announcing the cancellation of the National Assembly election in 2011, INEC Chairman Attahiru Jega said, among others, that it was to ‘maintain the integrity of the elections and retain effective overall control of the process’,’’ it said.
APC said the situation in Anambra last Saturday was even more serious because, in addition to the fact that voting materials were either late or not delivered at all, most voters were disenfranchised by an INEC official who apparently tampered with the 2011 voters’ register for the state.
‘’Therefore, there are more compelling reasons now to cancel the Anambra governorship election than what led to the cancellation and rescheduling of the National Assembly election in 2011, unless of course INEC is still acting out the script handed to it for the ill-fated election,’’ the party said.
Apologise to Nigerians, HURIWA, TCN tell Jega
In a related development, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) and the Transparency Center Network (TCN) have asked INEC chairman Prof Attahiru Jega to apologise to Nigerians for the apparent failure and administrative flaws that marred the November 16, 2013, governorship poll in Anambra State.
The groups also asked the hierarchy of the electoral body to name, shame and prosecute all the electoral officials that in one way or the other colluded with reactionary political forces to undermine the transparent conduct of the bungled election which was declared inconclusive.
According to the groups, the bulk of blame and responsibility lies with INEC which is constitutionally empowered to conduct free, fair and transparent elections nationally.
The groups stated this in a joint statement signed by the national coordinator of HURIWA, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, who is also the deputy chief of mission for Transparency Center Network (TCN), an officially accredited election observer to the Anambra election, as well as the national director of media affairs of HURIWA, Miss Zainab Yusuf.
They noted that the failure of INEC in Anambra is an unfortunate foretaste of what may happen in 2015 unless and except comprehensive reforms are executed in INEC by the National Assembly to make it transparent, accountable, effective and efficient.