The Supervisory Presiding Officer (SPO) with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ted Francis, on Wednesday denied accusing the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Baritor Kpagir, of collecting N200 million from Governor Henry Seriake Dickson to compromise the governorship election in the state.
Following the cancellation of the election in Southern Ijaw LGA, there were media reports that claimed that Francis had allegedly claimed on oath that Dickson allegedly bribed the REC to the tune of N200 million to compromise the election.
But in an interview with the African Independent Television (AIT), Francis came out to deny and denounce such statement credited to him by the as pure blackmail against INEC and attempt to discredit the election.
He said he was shocked to hear that his name was being peddled in the media for something he knew nothing about, noting that, he felt embarrassed that such a statement could be fabricated to tarnish his name and that of the electoral body.
“I want to use this opportunity to state categorically that I never said anything like that. The statement was totally strange to me and I feel highly embarrassed by it all,” he said.
The Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC) had in a statement signed by its Central Zonal Chairman, Bobolaiyefa Owopelei, dismissed the allegation as a figment of the imagination of the enemies of democracy and the Ijaw nation.
Following the rebuttal of the allegation by Francis, Owopelei reiterated his conviction that the state REC, Baritor Kpagir, could not be bribed because of his stance on integrity, adding that the allegation was only a political stunt to discredit INEC having failed in a desperate bid to bribe the REC, compromise him and the election.
The group said in a statement that APC was bent on destroying the REC for refusing to be bribed.
“Immediately the REC granted interview that an interested party in the election reached to him to be bribed to compromise the election, the APC reacted negatively by sponsoring media war on the REC with the intention to embarrass and discredit him but the public can see beyond such antics,” he stated.