INEC Replies Bode George On Claim Tinubu’s Ally Is ICT Director At Commission
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has flatly denied the claim by a former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olabode George, that an alleged ally of Nigeria’s president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is the commission’s director of ICT department.
According to INEC, there’s no iota of truth in George’s claim as no member of its ICT staff or personnel across its state offices bears the name “Femi Odubiyi” as referred to by the PDP chieftain.
George, the Atona Oodua of Yorubaland, had in a recent statement asked the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to explain the circumstances that led to Odubiyi’s alleged appointment by the commission to head “a critical department before, during and after elections”.
Odubiyi is a former Commissioner for Science and Technology in Lagos State. He was sacked while serving under the administration of the then Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.
Bode George had said in his statement on Sunday: “Today, millions of Nigerians are disputing the outcome of the February 25 presidential elections and some candidates are already in court. BVAS and IReV are very critical in the legal process that is going on.
“Nigerians are already asking Prof. Mahmood Yakubu: How did this man, former Commissioner in Lagos State, find his way into INEC, not just any Department but a critical one like ICT? That department is very sensitive. Why should a follower of a presidential candidate be deployed to man a sensitive department like ICT in an election year?
“How did he even get his way into INEC? Do we have acolytes of Atiku Abubakar, Peter Obi and other candidates heading other departments in INEC? Nigerians need to know. Was there no background check by security agents before this man was chosen to head ICT? How do we want the world to look at us when somebody close to a presidential candidate decides what goes on in the ICT department?
“Now that other candidates are in court, is this not the time for this fellow to be redeployed? Who appointed him and when was he appointed? Nigerians need to know,” he said, adding “These are posers the INEC Chairman must unravel.”
But reacting, INEC’s Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, said “nothing can be further from the truth” regarding the claim of the PDP chieftain who is also a fierce critic of Tinubu.
“To set the record straight, the name “Femi Odubiyi” does not even exist within our ICT Department at the INEC headquarters in Abuja or any State office of the Commission.
“Our ICT staff are career officers of Cominission. None has held any political appointment in any State of the Fedenition,” declared Okoye.
On February 27, two days after Nigeria’s presidential election, Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress was declared the winner.
He won with a slim margin against his closest opponents — Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party, and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, in a process that was widely described by local and foreign observers as flawed.
INEC’s failure to electronically transmit results of the election in compliance with its own regulations and guidelines are part of the grounds for which Atiku and Obi are challenging the results in court.