Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has denied reports that the Electoral Officer (EO) of Obokun Local Government Area (LGA) in Osun State and another official of the Commission in the LGA were caught diverting sensitive materials.
The statement signed by Kayode R Idowu Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman read thus
”There is no truth in the report that the Electoral Officer (EO) of Obokun Local Government Area (LGA) in Osun State and another official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the LGA were caught diverting sensitive materials, investigation by the Commission has shown.
This statement is to clear the air over the widely circulating report, especially on online sites, which suggested that the integrity of the process leading up to the Osun State Governorship Election on August 9, 2014, has been compromised. Investigation shows that no sensitive materials were diverted, neither was any official of INEC caught in cohort with political partisans. The full explanation of what happened is as follows:
The EO of Obokun Local Government had, at some point on Wednesday, discussed and agreed with all stakeholders, including political parties in his LGA, that sensitive and non-sensitive materials would be distributed together once the sensitive materials were received at the INEC LGA office.
Early on Thursday morning, all EOs in Osun State were asked to report in Oshogbo to collect sensitive materials for their respective LGAs, hence the Obokun EO and one of his officers left for the state capital to collect the materials. While they were in Oshogbo, the EO realized that mattresses needed for operating the Registration Area Centres (RACs), which ought to have been delivered at the RACs, had not been distributed. Consequently, he sent back his officer to go distribute the mattresses to all the RACs.
The officer assigned to effect this task misinterpreted the instruction and, rather than distribute only the mattresses, began to distribute non-sensitive materials as well – contrary to the earlier agreement between the EO and political parties.
The EO returned to the LGA office around 7pm on Thursday with sensitive materials for his jurisdiction and, on learning that the officer had overreached his instruction, became concerned about the breach of the agreement he had with the political parties and other stakeholders. He immediately ordered the retrieval of the non-sensitive materials from all RACs.
The bid to retrieve the non-sensitive materials triggered suspicion of something untoward among the communities, some of which resisted the retrieval. A number of them alerted security agents, who promptly arrested the EO and the officer who had distributed the non-sensitive materials. The EO and his officer have since been released and they have gone on with their duties, following the Commission’s investigation and satisfactory explanation to the security agencies about the true nature of the incident.
For avoidance of doubt, sensitive materials were not involved in the incident. Actually, sensitive materials from the State INEC Headquarters arrived at the LGA long after the non-sensitive materials had been distributed.
Also, there is absolutely no truth to the claim that the EO or any other staff of INEC was found in a vehicle other than the Commission’s vehicle distributing materials. That may explain why the only vehicle shown in the various social media reports on the incident was the Commission’s vehicle with registration No.: FG 816 VO1.
This is to reassure the public that this INEC remains committed to ensuring high integrity of the electoral process and delivery of free, fair and credible governorship election in Osun State.”