Segun Oni, governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in the June 18, 2022, election in Ekiti State has said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is preventing his legal team from having access to inspect the election materials as ordered by the Election Tribunal sitting in Ado Ekiti.
He raised the alarm in a press statement released by his campaign organisation on Monday evening and signed by its Director of Media and Publicity, Mr Jackson Adebayo.
The organisation hinted that the Ekiti State office of INEC had on Monday denied the legal team access to the election materials, including the capturing machine used in the transmission of the results of the election, saying that INEC claimed all the materials are in its headquarters.
Adebayo accused the electoral umpire of deliberately conniving with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to frustrate their efforts to retrieve the mandate it stole during the election.
He asked why it has become the tradition of the Commission to transfer the materials used to conduct elections which are still being challenged at the tribunal to the headquarters, adding that the Commission is only playing to the gallery by these dangerous actions.
“We are aware of the surreptitious romance between the APC and the Commission after it was discovered that the manipulation perpetrated to award victory to the APC candidate, Biodun Oyebanji has been fingered.
“We, however, want to appeal to all well-meaning Nigerians to call on INEC to release the materials demanded inspection as provided by law which the Ekiti State election petition tribunal has appropriately ordered.
“We are still not comfortable with the claims by the Commission in Ado Ekiti that the materials are in the national headquarters as verifiable information has it that all the materials are in their store in Ado Ekiti office; so if that be the case why the deceit and delay if something is not under a cover-up,” he said.
The organisation, however, said that its legal team can’t be intimidated nor frustrated, adding that the commission should know that the issues go beyond Oni but things of concern to the generality of Ekiti people.
But in a swift reaction, the Public Relations Officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Ekiti State, Mrs. Rolake Odebunmi, confirmed and corroborated the earlier points raised by the organisation, saying that it’s only about 50% of the materials being requested for that are in the custody of the State INEC.
She said that “part of the materials, like 50% are not in the custody of the Ekiti State INEC”.
Speaking further, Odebunmi pointed out that the Commission in Ekiti State had told the organisation to check for the ones available in the state but they refused and said they don’t want it until they see the remaining materials.
She revealed that the INEC office in Ekiti can only make available the materials in their custody.
She went on to say that they have advised the organisation to write a letter to their headquarters in Abuja for the release of those materials so they can inspect them.
Odebunmi, however, revealed that the Commission has fixed another meeting for next Monday so that the reply from their head office in Abuja will be given to enable them to take further action on it.