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Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River State

Cross River: PDP raises the alarm over alleged plans by INEC, Ayade to manipulate declared election results, BVAS

….As party Guber Candidate heads to court

..REC denies allegations

By Sixtus Uket (Calabar)

Cross River State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has raised the alarm over alleged plans by the State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade in collusion with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Prof. Gabriel Yomere and other INEC Collation Officers, to tamper with the original results sheets and manipulate BVAS machines used for the Governorship and State House Assembly Elections held on March 18, 2023, in the State.

The party’s alarm came barely 24 hours after the Governorship Candidate of PDP in the just concluded Governorship and House of Assembly Elections in the State, Senator Sandy Ojang Onor, said he would contest the outcome of the elections in court.

The INEC had declared the Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bassey Edet Otu as the winner of the elections in the State.

The PDP State Publicity Secretary, Mr. Mike Ojisi, raised the alarm in a statement made available to journalists Monday in Calabar, the State capital.

Mr. Ojisi expressed worry and called for genuine efforts to protect the election materials from deliberate manipulation.

“The Governor has concluded the arrangements for this, and it will commence today (Monday).

“We call on stakeholders and relevant agencies to demand the original results sheets used in announcing the results from REC before they tamper with it,” Ojisi stated.

The PDP State Publicity Secretary further alleged that reliable sources from Government House Calabar have also revealed that Governor Ayade, the REC and some top collation officers have been holding meetings in Government House, Calabar on how to reconcile the irregularities in the last Governorship and House of Assembly elections in the state.

“According to impeccable sources, Ayade and the INEC REC, Prof. Gabriel Yomere, are particularly worried over the issue of over voting and some irreconcilable differences recorded at the polling units and the number of votes declared from the polling units.

“The sources further revealed that, they had a meeting on Saturday night trying to come out with modalities on how they can look at declared results in each local government to tally with the hurriedly declared results especially where they have over voting.

“After series of meetings, arrangements have been concluded between the REC, the Electoral Officers (EOs) of each Local Government Area and the Returning Officers to bring out all the BVAS within each polling unit across the State that have over voting in the just concluded Elections.

“With the BVAS, they would be able to thumbprint additional ballot papers to balance the votes and the number of voters that were accredited in each of the polling units across the state,” he said.

But Prof. Yomere has denied the allegations when contacted by journalists.

“There is no truth in the allegations that am meeting with the governor and his team in order to reconcile and manipulate the electoral materials used for the Governorship Elections in the State,” he said.

He explained that the last time he met with the governor was shortly before the Christmas, adding that he went with his team.

“That was shortly before I travelled for Christmas,” he explained.

“Even if I succeed in manipulating the BVAS, what about the backend at the INEC portal? You can’t manipulate that.

“The only people allowed to check the BVAS are the lawyers to the political parties, and they do that in the presence of INEC staff,” the REC said.

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