Chinedu Ogah, the 2019 candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for Ezza South/Ikwo Federal Constituency in Ebonyi State, has alleged that the Ebonyi State Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Prof. Godswill Obioma collected about the sum of N300 million bribe to reduce the votes of APC candidates in the state.
According to Ogah, the three hundred million naira was given to the REC by a presidential candidate to falsify and reduce the votes of President Muhammadu Buhari and other National Assembly candidates during the March 23 elections in Ebonyi State.
Briefing journalists in Abakaliki on Saturday, June 8, 2019, Mr. Ogah also noted that though the Independent National Electoral Commission declared that Buhari won in Ikwo Local Government Area, about 15,000 votes were removed and falsified by the Resident Electoral Commissioner in connivance with the Peoples Democractic Party in the state.
Ogah who alleged that he also lost about 21,000 votes on the incident noted that the Special Presidential Investigative Panel, SPIP, has arrested the REC over the allegations.
He further explained that the bribery that happened in the INEC led to the reduction of the votes in Ikwo Council Area where the president got over 30,000 votes, but about 21,000 votes were announced by the commission, stressing that he has all the credible evidences of the financial inducement and other electoral frauds against the REC and other officials of the commission in the state.
Ogah said, “Collation of results supposed to be done at the polling units to ward, Local government to the constituency office in Onueke and such a thing was not done. The votes of President Muhammadu Buhari were reduced and falsified. The Ebonyi State REC, Prof. Godswill Obioma collected about three hundred million naira.
“Another INEC officer was given a bribe of 300, 000 dollars by a PDP candidate in the state. What we are asking REC is that if he claims that he is innocent of this allegation, why should they now fill ECG 40 G form on April 4th claiming that up to 31,000 votes were cancelled in Ikwo, but he used less that 7,000 votes to declared someone winner? If such a thing happened, is it not inconclusive?
“But such a thing did not happen because you wanted to make sure that you delivered on the money you collected. There was no violence in Ikwo, and none of the presiding officers filled a form indicating that they cancelled the election. We have written to the INEC chairman; we have written to the president; we have written to the REC,” Ogah said.
However, in a swift reaction, the Ebonyi State REC described the allegations as false and unfortunate, noting that he was only invited by the presidential panel on the allegation that PDP connived with INEC to reduce and falsify the votes of President Muhammadu Buhari and some other APC candidates before the tribunal.
The REC noted that at no time was he invited by any panel over alleged financial fraud but the petitions alleged that some of his staff collected money for the purposes of falsification of results.
Noting that he has written statement with SPIP on his invitation, the REC stressed that in the event that the Tribunal nullifies the result of the election for Ezza South/Ikwo federal constituency and declares the APC candidate, Comrade Chinedu Ogah as winner, the commission would abide by it
Obioma said, “My attention has been drawn to a statement made by Chinedu Ogah that I took a bribe of N300 million to falsify and reduce the votes of President Muhammadu Buhari in Ebonyi State. I deny it in its entirety, I didn’t receive any bribe and I could not have received it. As an INEC REC, I carried out my duty free and fair. I am not partisan.
“So, I did not at all receive any bribe. I was not arrested by the SPIP. I was invited and I have written a statement on that regards. The allegations didn’t involve me. The petition involves allegations that PDP in connivance with INEC falsified and reduced the votes of Mr. President and some other APC candidates and also allegation that one of my staff collected money for that purpose.
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