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Nigeria’s Election Commission Accused of Helping Opposition

Independent National Electoral Commission chairman, Attahiru Jega, left, views election results at the coalition center in Abuja, Nigeria, Monday, March 30, 2015.

A spokesman for Nigeria’s ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the Independent National Elections Commission (INEC) of colluding with security agencies in deciding last Saturday’s gubernatorial elections in some PDP strongholds in favor of the All Progressives Congress Party (APC).

Olisa Metuh, national publicity secretary of the PDP, said INEC officials and security agencies aided APC supporters in Abia, Imo, Plateau, and Zamfara states.

Election commission officials were not immediately available for comment.

Of the results announced so far, the APC has won 21 of Nigeria’s 36 states to 12 for the PDP.

The results in Abia and Imo states have been declared inclusive.

“There’s been overzealousness on the part of the security agencies in Nigeria and the INEC officials to please the winners of the presidential election. Whether they are doing this because they want to retain their jobs, or they are doing this because they are being threatened, that is the million dollar question,” he said.

Metuh said the outcome of the gubernatorial elections is an “ominous sign” for what he called the sustenance of democracy in Nigeria.

But, critics say, instead of blaming the security agencies which are controlled by the Jonathan government, the PDP should blame itself for its massive defeat in both the presidential and state elections.

He said that although the PDP felt it won the presidential election, still Jonathan conceded to President-elect Muhammadu Buhari. But, he added, that’s not the case in the gubernatorial elections.

“In a state like Imo, we’ve seen brazen rigging by the APC. The security agencies have aided them; even INEC officials have aided them. We’ve seen a new brand of politics where INEC has decided in Zamfara, in Plateau, and in Abia, in every other state, to reject the election in the PDP strongholds while the results from the APC strongholds are being upheld,” he said.

Metuh denies the gubernatorial election results are an indication of a rejection of Jonathan’s policies by Nigerian voters.

“In a state like Plateau State, we won the presidential election. [When] it came to gubernatorial elections, INEC manipulated the results and then APC won. In a place like Imo State, we returned three senatorial candidates; we returned eight out of nine house members. When it came to gubernatorial elections, then [the election] figures have been badly changed. Is that democracy? Is that rejection by the Nigerian people? No, that’s [a] rejection by the powers, the new powers that be,” he said.

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