Professor Godswill Obioma, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ebonyi State, has confirmed that the Special Investigative Panel (SPIP) has invited him over an allegation of bribery and other electoral irregularities involving his office and staff during the March 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections in the state.
Obioma, who confirmed the invitation to newsmen in Abakaliki at the weekend, however, dismissed social media reports that he was arrested over the allegations.
He said he was only invited by the panel following an allegation that PDP connived with some INEC staff to reduce the votes of President Muhammadu Buhari and other APC candidates in the state.
He said he would not comment on the matter since the panel was still carrying out their investigation.
“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 were 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,” he said
The candidate of the APC for Ezza South/Ikwo federal constituency, Chinedu Ogah, had accused the REC of conniving with some PDP stalwarts in the state to reduce his votes in favour of the PDP candidate, Laz Ogbee.
Ogah further alleged that the REC collected bribe to the tune of N3000 million from PDP, which led to the reduction of about 15,000 votes from the votes gotten by the President in Ikwo Local Government Area to the state.
Ogah said: “The result collations was supposed to be done at the polling units to ward, local government to the constituency office in Onueke and such a thing was not done. The votes of President Muhammadu Buhari were reduced and falsified. The Ebonyi State REC, Prof. Godswill Obioma, collected about three hundred million naira