PDP At INEC Office To Stop Smuggling Of Fake Results – Yobana
The “Occupy INEC’ protest of supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State which entered Day 8 on Tuesday, has continued to elicit reactions from stakeholders, politicians and members of the public.
While the PDP has explained that their business in the INEC office is to be allowed joint inspection of the sensitive materials used for the elections, other parties like the opposing All Progressives Congress (APC) and those who lost out to the PDP in the just concluded governorship election criticized the PDP for ‘unlawfully preventing the inspection process from going on’.
It has thus become a daily drama at the INEC office as some stakeholders of the PDP insist that the Governorship APC, Arc. Tonye Cole should be arrested and prosecuted for alleged murder of the man shot and killed during the protest on Monday.
Speaking to journalists on the development on Wednesday, a chieftain of the PDP in the state, Ambassador Marvin Yobana defended the action of his party men, saying he was there with the protesters to drive home their demands.
Question: Why is your party that won election in Rivers State going to INEC office to prevent the APC from getting the certified true copies after a court order?
YOBANA: Let me correct an erroneous impression. The PDP is not trying to stop any political party from getting or inspecting their materials. What we are saying is that we wrote to INEC and requested that we want a joint inspection of those sensitive materials that were used for the election.
There is a precedent to what is happening today. We can all remember what happened in 2015. Election was concluded and PDP won but the police presented election documents to the court which the court accepted. But we know that the law is very clear that the only person who can authenticate a document or verify the document is the originator of that document.
In this case, INEC was the originator of that document. And now that APC say they want to go and inspect materials and CTC, they want to do it on their own and all that, we are suspecting that they want to import fake results sheets to INEC in collaboration with some INEC staff.
That is our suspicion. Don’t forget that not too long ago; some APC lawyers were arrested in a hotel where they were forging INEC results sheets.
They were manipulating and forging results sheets and we believe it’s this same set of people that are at INEC to do what they know best to do. That’s why we said no.
The people you see come out there every day are Rivers people, those who voted for the PDP, and they want to protect their mandate. We said never again will we sit and allow APC to manipulate our results.
Election have come and gone. If APC have genuine case, they should approach the law courts. If they want inspection of the materials, all we are saying is invite the Labour Party, PDP, SDP, APC. Let all of us bring our agents and legal team and we sit down there and inspect the materials, one after the other.
We don’t want them to import fake results sheets into INEC, period.
Question: Does PDP have court order to carry out the inspection?
YOBANA: The procedure is very clear that you don’t need a court order to inspect results materials. It’s your right as a party. So, inspection of election materials, you don’t need a court order.
What you need is to write to INEC and say, we as interested party, we need to see these materials. And what we are asking for is a transparent process.
Having a court order does not preclude the other parties from watching what they are doing. The court order did not say PDP or any other party should not inspect.
Question: It means you don’t have trust in INEC. Is that correct?
YOBANA: Trust does not come here. If trust was the issue, we had precedence before. Once beaten twice shy. PDP had seen these happen before and that’s why we want to make sure no one imports fake results to INEC.
If they don’t have skeleton in their cupboard, why are they rejecting joint inspection of the materials? It is very clear they have something they are trying to hide. They are trying to smuggle fake results sheets through the back door to INEC. And that we say no.
Question: Let’s look at it from your statement that they want to smuggle results. Smuggling of results may happen at any time. They can go behind and do the smuggling if that’s what you are thinking. They can do that without anybody even knowing even with your protest at the gate. People who work in INEC don’t live there, you know?
YOBANA: Well not under the watchful eyes of other INEC staff who are very ready to do the right thing. Not also under the watchful eyes of the protesters who are there. Now they know we know what they are trying to do, they are afraid. Let them come openly and lets inspect the materials together. What we all need to see are the sensitive materials. We go in there with our agents and they bring their agents or their legal representatives, and lets have a joint inspection. That’s what we are asking for.