Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ebonyi State, Prof. Godswill Obioma, has dismissed as absolute falsehood the allegation that the commission under his leadership collected the sum of N300 million to manipulate the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections in Ezza South/Ikwo federal constituency to favour some candidates in the polls.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the constituency, Chinedu Ogah, had alleged that the commission collected the amount as bribe to reduce the votes of the APC’s presidential candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, and himself at the polls.
Following this allegation, a non-governmental organization reportedly petitioned the Special Presidential Investigative Panel (SPIP) in Abuja over Ogah’s allegation. The REC, Obioma, was invited by the panel to defend himself and the commission he heads.
Speaking with newsmen over the matter, Prof. Obioma who confirmed being invited by the SPIP, however, denied the allegation; describing it as laughable, baseless, and unfounded.
Obioma said: “I don’t have to make a statement on a matter before a panel but I just want to clarify an issue. My attention was drawn to a statement made by Chinedu Ogah that I took a bribe of N300 million. I deny it in its entirety. I didn’t receive any bribe and I couldn’t have received it.
“As an INEC REC, I carried out my duty-free and fair. I am not partisan; so I did not at all receive any bribe. I was invited following this allegation and I made a statement and the panel is investigating the authenticity of that petition.
“If I was arrested, would you have spoken to me? SPIP actually invited me over the allegation of N300 million bribe and asked me to make a statement. They are re-inviting me and they are still making investigations and as much as they invite me, I will go and make further statements on the matter.”