Rivers State Elections Saga – Prof Jega Reveals INEC’s Findings

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INEC-Chairman-Professor-Attahiru-Muhammadu-Jega

Rivers state is one of the states where there was an alleged high level of electoral malpractice. Nyesom Nwike was declared winner of the elections but the opposition requested that elections be canceled because they alleged among other things that elections did not hold in most parts of the state and that result sheets were fake. The APC has gone on to contest the elections in Rivers Akwa Ibom states.

Prof Attahiru Jega who was the chief umpire of the election process has come out to reveal INEC’s findings regarding these allegations. He made this revelation in Washington DC at an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and moderated by Jenniffer Cooke, Director, African Program at the institute . The event tagged ‘Nigeria’s 2015 Elections:What Have We Learned’ was a forum for discussion with members of the international community, US policy makers and think-tanks.

Prof Jega said the allegations regarding Rivers State elections were exaggerated. In his own words his said “Rivers has become quite a big issue,and we did our best to be able to have enough evidence to make an informed decision before results were returned. We received reports of fake results sheets, use of photocopied result sheet, substitution of trained INEC personnel and allegation of no election taking place in some polling units. It came before we announced the results, so we immediately constituted a three man team made up of national commissioners to go to Rivers state and investigate the allegations. It was not true that elections did not take place in majority part of the state. In fact the evidence was that in the overwhelming majority, election took place in most areas. It wasn’t true that there was fake result sheets, there was no photocopied results sheets, there was no substantive evidence to support the wild allegations. From our investigations we were satisfied that there was no substantive evidence to cancel the elections as agitated by some people, we also have people on ground and observers like TMG, and others who also gave us honest report about what happened. I don’t think there was massive irregularities as reported in Rivers state, my advice is that they should go to the tribunal, if they have evidence, On our own part we have done our thorough investigation. We have scanned 95 percent of the results sheets from all the polling units and we will put them on our site once we get to 100 percent. I am not saying their is no irregularities, but not to the magnitude that has been reported.”

How does this revelation affect the claims of the APC? This is the same person who has been lauded by the APC as having conducted a free and fair election. Will they turn around now to say he is not telling the truth in the case of Rivers State? Since INEC is in possession of the evidence the APC requires to make its claim at the tribunal and Prof Jega is saying there is no evidence to support the allegations, is it wise for the APC to keep pursuing their claims?

It is very well within the rights of the party to pursue any claims they may have and present whatever evidence they may possess. We shall await the ruling of the tribunal and maybe court of appeal since it is likely that there will be an appeal whatever the ruling of the tribunal.

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