Thursday, 27 August 2015

INEC Confirms Irregularity In Delta Elections

The accreditation report submitted by the Independent National Electoral Commission to the Delta state governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Asaba has shown that the number of accredited voters for the election in the state was lower than the results announced by electoral officials after the polls.

The tribunal admitted four key documents including card readers’ accreditation report tendered by the INEC officials.

According to Premium Times, two INEC officials, assistant director of the ICT department from Abuja headquarters and the chief planning officer in the Delta state office were directed to give testimony on the conduct of the April 11 Delta elections.

This was in line with the request put forward by the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, Emerhor Otega.

Otega and the APC are contesting the declaration of Ifeanyi Okowa as the winner of the governorship election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Other documents the INEC officials tendered at the commencement of hearing on Wednesday, August 26, included manual for election officials 2015, INEC’s April 2, 2015 press statement making accreditation through use of card readers only mandatory for the governorship elections; and guidelines and regulations for the conduct of 2015 general elections.

The officials testified that all documents tendered were duly certified by INEC and that the card reader had three functions of identifying voters, verifying PVC holder and voter’s authentication on election day.

They further said: “The card readers recorded no sustained failure during the governorship election in delta state and accredited numbers of voters as at April 29th was 709,000 and at the expiration of the shutting down of data upload, the final tally was 715,393.”

However, the state’s INEC had on April 13 put the figure of accredited voters at 1,017,796, exceeding actual accreditation number revealed by the admitted report obtained from INEC central server.

The Returning Officer, Bio Nyananyo announced Okowa as the winner of the election on April 13, saying the PDP candidate polled 724,680 votes which translated to 14,980 votes higher than actual number of accredited voters.

Okowa had firmly opposed the ordering of INEC staff to give testimony on the conduct of the governorship elections in the state.

Meanwhile,  Okowa’s quest to contend the earlier ruling by the state’s election tribunal at Asaba that favoured Otega suffered setback some weeks ago.

The presiding judge adopted the issues for determination raised by the appellant; Okowa, but upheld 1st and 2nd respondents/petitioners; Emerhor’s contention that paragraph 27(1) does not confer jurisdiction on the tribunal.