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Collation officer blames sight problem for alteration in Rivers poll result

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A collation officer reports the aggregattion total of votes at Rivers State collation centre in Port Harcourt, Southern Nigeria, on February 25, 2019. Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) collation officer for Asari-Toru Council of Rivers State, Dr. Steve Wodu, has attributed alteration of figures in the election results to sight problems.

The alterations were very obvious that agents of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), New Democratic Party (NDP), Action Democratic Party (ACP) among others became restless as they shouted: “Where are the figures coming from?”

The party agents argued that the results were in total variance with the ones announced at the wards and units.

During the collation yesterday, Wodu said: “The results were collated at night, so the alterations may be due to sight problems.”

When the electoral officer, Kenneth Etang, was called upon to present the council’s result, he was reluctant. As the INEC Returning Officer, Enefiok Essein, pressed to know why he was unwilling to present the result, he disclosed that he saw the collation officer, Kpang Meelabari, last on Saturday by 2pm and wondered how he came up with the results they were about to present.

Etang alleged that his life had been under threat since the disappearance of the collation officer who admitted that both of them saw last before elections were over on Saturday and were only seeing each other again yesterday morning when they were called to present the result.

Meanwhile, the INEC supervisor on the presidential election in the state, Eugene Nwosu, has expressed concern over disagreements on election results between the collation and electoral officers.

Nwosu said, while collation officers collude with politicians to rig elections, the public continues to blame INEC officers for election rigging.

The returning officer, who is the Vice Chancellor of University of Uyo, Enefiok Essien, said they could not do anything about the alterations, as their job was to collate results.

He urged the angry party agents to write INEC for further investigation.

In another development, Youth Initiative For Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) Africa has asserted that based on observer reports, there will be no run-off for the presidential election because a clear winner will emerge.

Its preliminary estimate, which was signed by the chair of its Watching The Vote Working Group (WTV), Dr. Hussaini Abdu, and executive director of YIAGA, Samson Itodo, put turnout for the February 23 elections at between 36 per cent and 40 pr cent.


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