By Foster Obi
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has debunked allegations that it has been compromised by the ruling party in Anambra State to rig the forth-coming elections in the State.
The commission told Daily Sun in Awka that it is not working for any party but its duty is to ensure that free and fair elections take place in Anambra in the November 16, governorship elections in the state.
The clarifications by the INEC is based on recent insinuations in the media that the non-display of the voters register by INEC, 30 days before the elections, is a ploy by the commission to rig the elections in favour of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
The media also reported that contrary to sections 19 and 20 of the Electoral Act 2011, INEC refused to integrate the supplementary voters register which took place in August into the 2011 register, pointing out that this is a hidden agenda in favour of APGA.
Besides, the report said that INEC’s resolve to give soft copies of the voters’ register to political parties free of charge, on a day it was supposed to display the register at various polling centres, is a negation of Section 15 of the Electoral Act.
Responding to the allegations, INEC Public Relations Officer in the state, Frank Egbo described them as baseless. According to him, before INEC conducted the supplementary voters’ registration exercise in August, the 2011 voters register was displayed at the various centres for three days for people to see.
He also noted that after the supplementary exercise that took place between the 19th to the 26th of August, the register was also displayed for one week. He explained that INEC gave room for claims and objections which have been addressed and accommodated to get the final voters’ register, having integrated the supplementary list.
The INEC PRO said he did not understand why people would think the commission is working for APGA when the voters’register did not give room for the electorate to indicate their party affiliation during registration. He said,“how would INEC know that a person has registered to vote for a particular party when he is not required to indicate his or her party on the voters’ card?”
This explanation is driven by reports that the reason why INEC does not want to display the integrated supplementary voters’ list to the 2011 voters’ register is because opposition parties had more members that registered during that period and that the ruling APGA government sensed that integrating the supplementary voters’ list to 2011 register would lead to its defeat at the November 16, 2013, polls.