The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has denied allegations by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State that its National Chairman, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, had met secretly with All Progressives Congress (APC) officials.
Wike had alleged that Yakubu met with APC Chairman in the state, Davies Ikanya and the party’s candidate for the forthcoming rerun elections in Rivers South East senatorial district, Magnus Abe on Wednesday in Abuja.
He had alleged that the action of the commission was inimical to credible legislative rerun elections scheduled for July 30 in the state.
Reacting to the allegation, Deputy Director, Voter Education and Publicity in INEC, Mr Nick Dazang, admitted to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday that the meeting held but that it was a routine.
He said that it was INEC’s policy to meet with leadership of political parties involved in elections.
“The INEC Chairman with three National Commissioners and two directors met with a delegation of the APC led by its Deputy National Chairman.
“The meeting was routine and was earlier requested by the leadership of that party.
“Similar routine meetings between INEC and other parties had taken place at the INEC Headquarters.
“It is INEC’s policy and this is being strictly adhered to under Prof. Yakubu’s watch to avoid any suspicion or allegation of bias.
“The chairman meets leaders of political parties in the presence of the national commissioners.
“It is therefore not true that the meeting was secret as alleged by Gov. Wike or intended to favour the APC”, Dazang said.
He, therefore, expressed the commission’s commitment to credible elections.
“The commission is determined to conduct free, fair and transparent elections in Rivers by providing a level field and carrying all stakeholders along”, he said. (NAN)