PDP guber candidate faults REC on inspection of Bayelsa election materials
Exercise normal process for parties, says INEC
Governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Bayelsa State gubernatorial election, Douye Diri, has accused the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Monday Udoh of violating the Election Petition Tribunal’s order on inspection of election materials.
Diri said in defiance of the tribunal’s order, the REC allowed the All Progressives Congress (APC) to inspect sensitive and non-sensitive voting materials used for the November 16 governorship poll.
But in a swift reaction, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC’s) Head of Publicity and Voter Education, Wilfred Ifogah, said it was the normal process for all parties to observe inspection of election materials.
Ifogah said it was possible for the PDP’s inspection team and staff members of INEC to manipulate the process if other parties were absent, saying it was a constitutional right for the respondent to observe the inspection.
The tribunal had granted the prayer of PDP counsel to inspect the materials, but Diri alleged that instead of complying with the order, the REC allowed APC, which is not a party to the prayer to participate in the exercise.
In a statement yesterday, he described the involvement of APC in the exercise as a flagrant abuse of the tribunal’s order, accusing Udoh of partisanship and that his role in recent times justified PDP’s position that he was working for the APC.
Insisting that the REC was working with the APC to defy the tribunal’s order, he enjoined Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, to investigate the Bayelsa REC’s activities.
But Ifogah denied the allegation, saying, “When the tribunal ordered inspection of the election materials, it was not just PDP that should inspect them, but other parties will have to observe the materials too.
“INEC will provide the materials, but the other parties that petitioned will also observe the process. It is not that those other parties were there for the inspection, they were there to observe, just like on elections day.
“You can bring the materials for two of you to use and only one person will be there for the inspection of the materials, two of them were involved and it’s also possible that if only PDP and INEC were there, something funny could happen.
“That’s why they were there to observe so that something funny will not take place. Yes, there was an order to inspect election materials, but the order did not specify that other parties involved in the election should not observe, it’s a transparent process.
“The APC and other parties that participated in the November 16 gubernatorial election were there as observers, because all the parties that fielded candidates for the poll are free to observe the process,” he stated.