A former Independent National Electoral Commission Acting Chairman, Amina Zakari, has challenged Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, and the Peoples Democratic Party in Ekiti State to provide evidence to support their allegation that she was colluding with other officials to rig the Ekiti governorship election in favour of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Kayode Fayemi.
Ms Zakari, who is also in charge of INEC’s operations, spoke on Monday in Ado Ekiti at INEC’s pre-election preparation workshop organised for Electoral Officers, Assistant Electoral Officers and Heads of
Mr Fayose had on Sunday alleged that Ms Zakari and two other officials at INEC’s headquarters were in league with the APC and its candidate, Kayode Fayemi, to rig the election.
While urging Mr Fayose to support his claims with evidence, she noted that it was impossible for an individual to rig an election.
“They should prove that beyond reasonable doubt. I doubt it if an individual can rig an election when there are over 20,000 personnel to conduct the election,” she said.
“They should back their allegation with fact and figures. We (INEC) have nothing to hide. I see no reason why INEC would want to go back to bad old days. We are moving for forward ever and we remain focussed to ensure a credible election for Nigeria.”
INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of Oyo, Ekiti and Osun States, Solomon Soyebi, told participants at the workshop that the commission had no reason to fail the electorate in view of the amount of preparations made so far.
He said the commission was prepared to surmount all challenges to ensure that the exercise was free, fair and credible, saying every polling unit would open for the election by 7am.
“There will be no room for excuses. Any Local Government where this does not happen, the EO will be responsible,” said Mr Soyebi.
“You must share responsibilities with your assistants to avoid one-man show. You must also watch your utterances so as to safeguard the integrity of the exercise.”
Ms Zakari, on her part, said the workshop would review work done so far and expose
officials to new ideas, processes and approach to a successful election conduct.
“The workshop is to ensure proper preparations for the election. This is practice over the years, it is to ensure there is no gap between policies and implementation,” she said.
“It is to aid direct interaction with departments that initiate policies and to collect ideas that will help in reshaping policies and procedure.
“I have no doubt that this will be well-organised and it will be adjudged as the most successful election ever conducted.”
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ekiti, Abdul-Ganiyu Raji, said the workshop was to ensure information flow between policy formulators and the implementers towards a successful conduct of the election.
The election is expected to be a tough contest between the candidates of the APC and PDP, although there are candidates from other parties.