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Swear by Quran that you were unaware of electoral fraud in Kogi – Dino Melaye challenges INEC Chairman, Yakubu
 
By: Abara Blessing Oluchi
Tue, 14 Nov 2023   ||   Nigeria,
 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), candidate in Kogi, Sen Dino Melaye has asked the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, to swear by the Quran to prove his lack of awareness about electoral malpractices in the just concluded gubernatorial polls in the state.

Melaye who secured the third position in the Kogi governorship election, has consistently asserted that the INEC chairman played a role in his electoral defeat.

Melaye, during an appearance on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Monday, November 13, 2023, characterized the election as disgraceful and maintained that Yakubu was a significant impediment to Nigeria’s democracy.

He said, “As I speak to you, I am completely ashamed that INEC had an opportunity to correct their deliberate mistakes in the last presidential election, but instead, they have decided to compound the worries of Nigerians over our democratic process. What we saw yesterday was not a democracy. Mahmood Yakubu is the bane of the democratic development in the country, and he is incapable of being a repentant soul.”

On Saturday, during the ongoing electoral process, the commission declared the suspension of the process in nine wards. This decision came after receiving reports of prefilled result sheets at certain polling units within those areas.

In a statement signed by Mohammed Kudu Haruna, the National Commissioner and Member of the Information and Voter Education Committee, the electoral body confirmed that its findings pointed to electoral malpractices taking place in Adavi, Ajaokuta, Ogori/Magongo, Okehi, and Okene Local Government Areas.

“The incidences in the other Local Government Areas are being thoroughly investigated, and the outcome, including the way forward, will be announced in the next 24 hours,” the statement read in part.

Despite its earlier announcement of suspending the process to investigate irregularities in the affected areas, INEC proceeded to declare the final result and announced Usman Ododo of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the election.

In response to this development, Melaye expressed bewilderment, questioning why INEC declared a winner after committing to investigate the electoral irregularities reported in the identified wards.

“Remember yesterday, when INEC made a statement, they said there were reported discrepancies in five local governments and that they were investigating it. INEC said they were investigating it, and while they were investigating, they went ahead to declare those local governments while we were waiting for the report of their investigation.”

When asked whether he believes the INEC boss had a direct hand in his defeat, Melaye asserted that the incumbent Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, would not have had access to INEC’s result sheets if Yakubu had not collaborated with the Kogi State Government.

“How will Yahaya Bello have access to the original result sheets without Mahmood Yakubu’s cooperation? How will a youth corps member who is engaged on the day of election have ₦1m in her bag?” Melaye queried.

He further challenged the INEC Chairman to take an oath on the Quran to affirm that he did not receive reports about electoral irregularities in Kogi from the commission’s officials.

“Let Mahmood Yakubu swear by Holly Quran that there was no report by the field officers for cancellation in some LGAs in Kogi,” Melaye said.

The PDP candidate said he had obtained some evidence to prove that the Kogi governorship election was fraught with irregularities.

“You saw yesterday that a lot of corpers and agents were arrested with prefilled results sheets. I also have some results sheets; you’ll see how mutilated the result sheets are.”

According to him, his votes were cancelled and reduced in the mutilated result sheets, while those of the APC were increased.

“I have about 10 of such results, and there are more than 200 results, all mutilated like this,” the PDP candidate alleged.

 

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