By Christian Njoku
Calabar, March 15, 2023
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says its operations are guided by the Electoral Act and not by political parties.
Prof. Gabriel Yomere, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Cross River, made this known in Calabar during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Yomere was reacting to calls by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to sign the election result sheets for Saturday’s governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections in advance.
SDP had argued that the measure would help in checking and preventing irregularities during the election.
“Asking INEC to sign result sheets of an election that is yet to be conducted is laughable and uncalled for.
“I see this as an expression of fear on the part of the political party that is making such a demand.
“Why not intensify your campaigns by going house-to-house ahead of the contest instead of staying behind to dictate to INEC to do your bidding.
“INEC is not under any obligation to act according to the dictates of any political party but will operate according to guidelines for the conduct of elections,” he said.
The SDP in a letter had urged INEC to sign the result sheets ahead of the elections.
The party in the letter signed by its chairman in Cross River, Dr Ekpeyong Ambo, said the move would reassure the stakeholders that the umpire would not compromise the results.
Ambo stated that signing the result sheets would clear the suspicion by some political parties in the state that results of March 18 elections were already in the hands of a particular political party.
“Signing the election result sheets will put to rest the suspicion and rumour peddled in some quarters that the result of the forthcoming March 18 elections may have been compromised by the electoral umpire,” Ambo said.