Senate can’t force us to conduct Rivers inconclusive polls – INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission on Wednesday said it was fully prepared for the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State.
So also did INEC say that despite the fact that it was set to conduct the inconclusive elections in Rivers State, the threat by the Senate cannot force it to do so.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Ondo State, Olusegun Agbaje, said INEC was set for the election in the state.
Agbaje said the commission was working round the clock to make the Ondo State poll one of the most free and fair in the country.
Agbaje spoke in Abuja at the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room organized by Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre.
He said 1,659,186 people registered for the election, out of which 1,201,553 had collected their Permanent Voter Cards, leaving a total of 330,218 PVC yet to be collected.
Agbaje said anyone without a PVC will not be allowed to vote.
He further noted that 3,694 Card Reader machines have been serviced and made ready for the election.
Agbaje equally responded to the allegation by the factional governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Jimoh Ibrahim, that some staff of INEC demanded $1 million from him.
He said: “I have not met Jimoh Ibrahim before in my life.
“I have not spoken to him in my life.
“Ibrahim sent somebody to the bring money to our office.
“I turned the person down very politely.
“I told him I was not going to see Jimoh Ibrahim.
“I was surprised when I read what Jimoh Ibrahim said about me in the newspaper.
“I have made presentation on it to the chairman of INEC, with two prayers: to address the media and go to court.
“I have never met Jimoh Ibrahim before.
“All the allegations are false.”
Agbaje also stated that the Ondo State election will be free and fair as the commission will not compromise.
He said: “Any party can win the election.
“The election is not pre-determined.
“We will make sure that it is the Ondo people that determine who they want as governor through their vote.”
Earlier, a National Commissioner of INEC, Prince Adedeji Soyebi, had stated that all is set for the re-run election in Rivers State.
Soyebi, however, added that it was not because of the threat by the Senate, but that the Commission had put everything in place before the Senate acted.
He said: “We have put a lot of things in place for the Rivers elections.
“We gave them five conditions to be met before we will conduct the elections.
“Part of the condition was that all cases in court should be withdrawn.
“They have met all our conditions.
“By today, the new date will be confirmed.
“We will not surrender our responsibility to anybody.
“We are not moved by the Senate threat.
“The date did not have anything to do with the order of the Senate.
“It is purely done on the basis of our own responsibility.
“We took our time because Rivers election is not done by ballot paper alone, but by guns.
“We cannot expose other people’s children and our workers to danger, hence the need for us to tidy up.”
In his own speech, the Executive Director of PLAC and the convener of the Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo, commended INEC.
Nwankwo said the entire country is looking ahead to a more improved election in Ondo State come November 26.