Abia 2023 governorship election: I didn’t move to distort results collation – INEC Chairman 

Against the purported confession allegedly by the Abia State Returning officer, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has dismissed the report accusing its Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, of attempts to manipulate the Abia state governorship election results.

The Commission described the report as false and malicious. 

A media platform had quoted the Returning Officer for Abia State, Prof. Nnnena Otti, as alleging that she was being forced to do the wrong thing.

According to the platform; “The INEC Presiding Officer In Abia state Nnenna Otti had this to say…’I’m Professor Nnenna Oti from Afikpo. I am the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology Owerri, The people’s mandate shall stand. 

“I have spent all my adult life in pursuit of the ideals of good governance. We shall stand by the these principles. The pastor in me (she is a Pastor with the RCCG) and the mother in me will not permit me to do anything that will adversely affect the future of our children. I shall do right by God and by man!’

“Then to the shock and surprise of everyone in the hall, she said that the INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu, personally called her and gave her directives on guidelines to follow in ensuring that Abia governorship election results were collated based on some criteria but that on her own, she has decided that the will of Abia voters would not be subverted under her watch.

“At that point, she asked the Administrative Secretary to read the message she said came from the INEC headquarters Abuja”.

In his right reaction, Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said Yakubu never directed the returning officer to violate the commission’s guidelines and consequently distort the governorship election result in Abia state.

He said, “The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu never called the Returning Officer to give her a directive. Rather, the Returning Officer wanted the official communication on the Commission’s decision to suspend the collation of result in Abia State. 

“The Chairman then directed that pending the delivery of the hard copies, the soft copies of the Commission’s letter be forwarded immediately to the Resident Electoral Commissioner of Enugu state and the Administrative Secretary of Abia state.

“The Returning Officer for Abia state then directed that the content of the letter should be read aloud by the Administrative Secretary in the presence of agents of political parties, observers, the media and security personnel at the Collation Centre. 

“This is what is now being mischievously interpreted as a directive to the Returning Officer on some phantom criteria at variance with the approved guidelines. There is nothing like that.

“In fact, the content of the letter is basically the same as the Commission’s Press Release dated Monday 20th March 2023 which has since been uploaded to the Commission’s social media platforms and is already in the public domain.”