The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has dismissed claims by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that the Commission has appointed the Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Eyitope Ogunbodede, as Returning Officer for this Saturday’s Ondo governorship election.
The Chairman of the PDP National Campaign Council and Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde at a press conference on Thursday alleged that INEC has appointed Ogunbodede, a kinsman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship Candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu as the Returning Officer for the Ondo polls.
But INEC in a press statement by its National Commissioner & Chairman Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye said the Returning Officer for the Ondo Governorship election is not from Ondo State and not from the University mentioned in the said press conference.
Okoye said: “While the Commission will not be drawn into speculations relating to the performance of its constitutional and statutory functions, it is imperative to set the records straight for the benefit of the people of Ondo State and the integrity of the electoral process.
“It is the sole responsibility of the Commission to appoint a Returning Officer for the Ondo Governorship election and does not share this responsibility with any individual, group or Political Party.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Returning Officer for the Ondo Governorship election is not from Ondo State and not from the University mentioned in the said press conference.
“The Returning Officer appointed by the Commission will report to the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Ondo State on the date conveyed in his letter of appointment issued several days ago.
“The Commission is firmly focused on the conduct of free, fair and peaceful election and implores all the stakeholders to cooperate and play their own part in ensuring peaceful election and not to engage in unhelpful speculation.
“The main concern of the Commission is in ensuring a credible electoral process while the outcome is in the hands of the people of Ondo State”.