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Plateau guber: INEC frustrating Useni’s petition against Lalong – PDP alleges

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Plateau State has alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was frustrating the party’s efforts to challenge the recent victory of Governor Simon Lalong at the election petitions tribunal.

The PDP made its position through the Chairman of the Media and Publicity Committee of the PDP Campaign Council, Yiljap Abraham, in Jos, the state capital.

It would be recalled that the electoral umpire had declared Lalong, who was the APC candidate winner of the state governorship election on the 24th March, 2019, but Jeremiah Useni, who was the PDP candidate, rejected the declaration and vowed to reclaim the mandate which he said would be given to him at the election petition tribunal.

Yiljap said that after filing their petitions, INEC had refused to release materials used for the election in compliance with the tribunal’s order under the guise of “carrying out renovations where the documents were originally kept”.

He said, “INEC has been served with the tribunal’s order to release all election materials requested by Useni’s legal team.

“However, latest reports indicate that INEC is yet to comply with the order. Legal sources said INEC appears to be deliberately delaying its compliance by moving the documents around with the excuse of carrying out renovations where the documents were originally kept and also saying that its officials are ‘sorting’ the polling documents.”

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According to him, “Sources have said the reason for the delay may be that INEC is attempting to carry out a “reverse collation” as local government Electoral Officers work desperately to ensure they make right what may be wrong with the papers before they release them for inspection.”

The Chairman also quoted Useni’s legal team as saying that any attempt by INEC to frustrate their petition would be an exercise in futility, “We are fully prepared for them. We have the right tools, skills and people to undertake a thorough job. We assure Plateau people not to worry. We will reclaim their stolen mandate.”

But reacting to the allegations raised, INEC’s Head of Voter Education in the State, Osaretin Imahiyereobo said, “I’m not aware that PDP met any of the commission’s officials for the release of the electoral materials without success.”

Imahiyereobo challenged the party to name the official who it claimed was frustrating its efforts at the tribunal.

He added that the Commission was a law-abiding institution and cannot be seen doing anything contrary to the position of the law.

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