The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has instituted a “fact-finding committee” to examine allegations of irregularities in the presidential and parliamentary election conducted in Rivers state at the weekend.
“Further to the allegation made by the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the conduct of the presidential and national assembly elections on Saturday 28th March, 2015 in Rivers state and its call for the cancellation of the exercise, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has set up a fact finding mission to ascertain the veracity of the claims and allegations and to advise the Commission and the Chief Electoral Commissioner/Returning Officer for the Presidential election,” INEC said on Monday evening in a statement signed by Augusta Ogakwu, its secretary.
The committee of national electoral commissioners comprises Thelma Iremirem, head and supervisory national commissioner for Rivers state; M.K Hammanga, a colonel; and Lai Olurode, a professor.
“They have departed for Rivers state and it is expected that they will submit their report before the end of the collation of results of the other states and the FCT,” INEC said.
“Following the consideration of the report, the commission will make its decision known.”
Speaking earlier at a press briefing in Abuja on Sunday, Attahiru Jega, chairman of INEC, had vowed to look into the issue.
“The commission is concerned about what seems to be happening in Rivers state where there are many allegations of malpractices and accusation of INEC staff colluding with politicians to commit electoral fraud,” he said.
“We will investigate these allegations and take actions against anyone found culpable.”
Rotimi Amaechi, governor of the state, had accused Gesilia Khan, the state resident electoral commissioner, of planning to rig the election in favour of President Goodluck Jonathan, who hails from Bayelsa like her.
Amaechi and many APC supporters boycotted the election, on the account that result sheets were not provided across many polling units in the state.
But Khan faulted the argument of the governor, saying its agents signed for all electoral documents, including result sheets. Maintaining that the election was satisfactory, she subsequently declared PDP as the winner of the election.
PDP polled 1,487 075 ahead of the APC, which had 60, 238 in the presidential election, and went on to win the election in all the constituencies of the lower and upper chambers of the national assembly.