… for Alleged N300m Bribe, Reduction of PMB’s Votes in Ebonyi
By Agnes Igwe
Special Presidential Investigation Panel (SPIP), Abuja has allegedly interrogated Ebonyi State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the just concluded 2019 general elections, Prof Godswill Obioma and two other INEC officials over alleged N300 million bribe.
Obioma and some other INEC officials in the state were accused of allegedly collecting the N300m to reduce the votes of President Muhammad Buhari and his All Progressives Congress party in the 2019 general elections
The All Progressives Congress party’s candidate for Ezza-South/Ikwo Federal Constituency, Comrade Chinedu Ogah confirmed the arrest and ongoing interrogation of REC and others said to be contracted, energized to reduce President Muhammad Buhari votes and that of the National Assembly in Ezza-South/Ikwo Federal Constituency.
Comrade Ogah, alleged that one female INEC Officer was given a bribe of $300,000 while huge amount of money was found in the house of another.
Sequel to all the accusations, the APC candidate urged INEC National chairman Yakubu Mamudu to look critically into the matter as according to him; some people are bent on tarnishing his image.
Comrade Ogah said, “I contested to represent Ezza-South/Ikwo Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives in the 2019 general elections. I have decided to bring to the public notice about the corrupt activities of INEC Ebonyi State, how corrupt Prof. Godswill Obioma, the state REC is.
“He reduced the votes of our President, President Muhammadu Buhari and that of the National Assembly candidate in Ebonyi State, Ezza-South/Ikwo Federal Constituency to be precise. That with the facts before us we, wrote complaining what REC did was to instruct his agents those he distributed camouflage uniforms and arms so as if they were security agents they went to Ezza south hijacked the whole materials to the headquarters without any security.”
“And the materials were handed over to INEC officer. After two days they still brought Ikwo materials back to INEC headquarters which is wrong according to Electoral Act. The election was supposed to be conducted at the polling units, taken to wards and then to local government colation center to the constituency office which is Onueke and such a thing was not done. He did what he did with his pay masters and reduced the votes but unfortunately to them, now at tribunal are the results at the polling units are the results acceptable by the electoral act and people have seen how he reduced the votes of Mr. President because of the money he collected.”
“One INEC officer was given a bribe of $300,000 while huge amount of money was found in the house of another. REC himself collected the bribe of N3 million. What we are asking REC is that if he claims that he is innocent of this, why did they now fill form ECG 40 G on April 4th claiming that up to 31,000 votes were cancelled in Ikwo, but he used 3000 plus to declared someone winner, if such a thing happened, is it not supposed to be declared conclusive? But such a thing did not happen because he wants to make sure that he delivers on the money he collected.”
“There was no violence in Ikwo, and none of the presiding officers filled a form indicating that they cancel the election but because he wants to really execute the corrupt job and the bribe he collected, he decided to do that. We have written to the INEC Chairman, we have written to the President, we have written to the REC, severally even my party wrote, but we thank God for the intervention of the President .We are urging the INEC chairman to look into that, there are so many people destroying his name but they will come out and camouflage, as time progresses we will unravel our evidences!”
‘We are not fighting anybody neither are we fighting any constituted authority but we are fighting for the truth, the election we contested was won by me, it should not be sold. So many people struggled and supported us for that election, so many lost their lives for that election, we will not relent until our mandate is restored to us. What we are saying is that the INEC should stand firm and say the truth .We commend Mr. President for what he has done by making sure that the constituted authority are looking into it.”
“So what we want is that the corruption and bribery that happened in the INEC that led to the reduction of the Mr. President votes in Ikwo where the President got over thirty something thousand votes and fifteen thousand votes were reduced while only twenty one thousand votes were announced we have the results to prove and we have submitted it to the investigative panel.”
Responding in a phone interview, the state REC, Prof Obioma Godswill denied being arrested by anybody but admitted being invited for interrogations alongside other INEC staff while some are already freed.
He also pledged his readiness to honour further invitations and make statements to ease the investigative processes.
Prof. Obioma said, “If I am arrested will you be speaking with me now? My attention was drawn to the allegation done by counsel to Chinedu Ogah, the petitioner that I took the bribe of N3 million. I deny it in its entirety, because as INEC REC, I did my work free and fair. I didn’t receive any bribe and I couldn’t have received it. So I did not at all receive any bribe. SPIP actually invited me over the allegation of N300million bribe and asked me to make statement. They are still making investigations and as much as they invite me, I will go and make statement.
“The petitioner has gone to the tribunal and other respondents have also made their defence in the tribunal. As far I am concerned, INEC is a law abiding entity and whatever the court decides INEC will abide by it.