It was reported earlier that Nnenna Oti, the returning officer, had said during the collation exercise that Yakubu personally called her and gave her some criteria to follow in collating the governorship election results but that she decided that the will of Abia voters would not be subverted under her watch.
Reacting to this, Rotimi Oyekanmi, chief press secretary to the INEC chairman, said Yakubu never called the returning officer to give her a directive.
The statement read;
“Rather, the Returning Officer wanted the official communication on the Commission’s decision to suspend the collation of results in Abia State. The Chairman then directed that pending the delivery of the hard copies, the soft copies of the Commission’s letter be forwarded immediately to the Resident Electoral Commissioner of Enugu State and the Administrative Secretary of Abia State.
“The Returning Officer for Abia State then directed that the content of the letter should be read aloud by the Administrative Secretary in the presence of agents of political parties, observers, the media, and security personnel at the Collation Centre.
“This is what is now being mischievously interpreted as a directive to the Returning Officer on some phantom criteria at variance with the approved guidelines. There is nothing like that.
“In fact, the content of the letter is basically the same as the Commission’s Press Release dated Monday 20th March 2023 which has since been uploaded to the Commission’s social media platforms and is already in the public domain.
“The public should disregard the story as fake news.”