The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Returning Officer in the Abia State governorship election, Prof. Nnenna Oti, has revealed that she was offered financial incentives to manipulate the election results.
Before Alex Otti was declared the governor-elect last Wednesday, collation of the results for Obingwa Local Government Area (LGA) were briefly suspended by INEC, arousing tension amongst the electorate and stakeholders in the state.
Oti, who is also the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology Owerri, made the revelation on Tuesday while being welcomed by the management, staff and students of the university.
She stated that before the final declaration of the result, she was promised huge monetary inducement to change the will and mandate of the people of Abia but that she remained resolute in the face of heavy intimidation and threats.
“As an electoral officer, I have never in my life participated in any election, but duty came calling, I made my enquiries from Abuja,” Oti said.
“If I perish, I perish, they came with their threats, they came with their money, they came with their intimidation.”
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She stated that she stood on her ideals and principles not to short-change anyone and ensured that the will of the people of Abia prevailed and that their votes counted during the election.
“I didn’t start today; I stand here before God, Jesus Christ. I have never defrauded anyone, all l I did was to declare the riot act as follows: Under me, votes must count. Under me, the people’s mandate will be upheld because I, Professor Nnnena Oti, can never do evil,” she said.
The declared results by the returning officer saw the Labour Party (LP) candidate, Alex Otti score 175,467 votes to defeat Okey Ahiwe and Enyinnaya Nwafor, who got 88,529 and 28,972, respectively.