Abuja- Trouble is currently brewing around the immediate past governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Umahi, as Femi Falana Chambers and 30 anti corruption civil society groups (CSOs) have raised the alarm over an alleged forgery of BVAS report of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the former governor.
The CSOs on Tuesday in Abuja revealed that the former governor in a desperate bid to secure a seat in the 10th Senate presented an alien BVAS report to the Ebonyi State National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal currently sitting at the National Judicial Council (NJI) as part of the evidences to defend his senate seat.
Recall that the Labour Party (LP) Senatorial candidate for Ebonyi South, Hon. Linus Okorie, his PDP counterpart, Sen. Michael Amah Nnachi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Sir. Ifeanyi Eleje of the All Progress Grand Alliance (APGA) had challenged the declaration of the then governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi as the winner of the February 15, 2023 National Assembly election in the state at the tribunal.
Labour party and the PDP won the two Federal Constituencies in Ebonyi South, while then Governor Umahi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was declared winner of the senate seat.
However, in a World press conference addressed in Abuja on Tuesday where the CSOs took a comprehensive review of the economic, social and political situations of Nigeria, the CSOs called for the immediate investigation of the allegation that Engr. David Umahi forged INEC documents in order to be declared winner of the Ebonyi South Senatorial seat.
Part of the press statement reads:
“In addition, there were allegations against INEC on issuance of conflicting Certified True Copy of the same electoral documents to parties in the same petitions before Election Petition Tribunals across the country.
“Case in point is the Ebonyi State National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal where the immediate past governor of Ebonyi State/Senator for Ebonyi South Senatorial District, Engr David Nweze Umahi, has been accused of presenting a forged CTC of the BVAS Accreditation Report and Compliance Certificate to the Tribunal in defense of cases challenging his election.
“In a petition against him and other named persons to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) by his Labour Party opponent, Linus Okorie; Umahi was alleged to have procured the said BVAS Report and Certificate of Compliance from the ICT department of the INEC Headquarters. However, by a letter attached to the petition, the CTC Report and Compliance Certificate were denied by the Secretary to the Commission as not AUTHENTIC; in other words, not from the Commission.
“The concern is that a cartel may be operating within the INEC headquarters and conniving with desperate politicians to churn out fake/forged documents of the Commission, as in this instance, with the intent to pervert justice at the ongoing election tribunals across the country. The import of such a criminal conspiracy is grave on the integrity of the eventual judicial decisions and the overall development of a credible electoral process in the country. We Call for immediate and comprehensive investigation of the petition mentioned by the police to unravel the identities of any cartel in INEC engaging in the criminal manipulation of official documents and to ensure the prosecution of anyone indicted.
“All these have destroyed the hope and confidence of citizens in the commitment, independence and competence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct free, fair and credible elections. This is a major impediment to the growth of our democracy.”
FACTSHEET findings revealed that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) has been called upon through a petition to immediately investigate the matter and allpow the law to take its due cause.
The CSOs that organized the press conference include:
1. Accountability Lab, Nigeria
2. African Centre for Media & Information
3. Borno Coalition for Democracy and
4. BudgIT Foundation
5. Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre
6. Corporate Accountability and Public
Participation Africa (CAPPA)
7. HEDA Resource Centre
8. State of the Union (SOTU)
9. Tax Justice and Governance Platform
10.Transition Monitoring Group (TMG)
11.Women in Media Communication Initiative
12.Zero Corruption Coalition (ZCC)
13.Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE)
14.Centre Democracy and Development (CDD)
15.Centre for Information Technology and
16.Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre
17.Environmental Rights Action (ERA)
18.National Procurement Watch
19.Resource Centre For Human Rights& Civil
20.Partners on Electoral Reform
21.Say NO Campaign – Nigeria
22.Femi Falana Chamber
23.Health of Mother Earth Foundation
24.Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability
25.Kano Peace Committee
26. Good Governance Team
27. 21st Century Foundation
29. Mothers and Marginalised Advocacy Centre (MAMA Centre)
30. International Center for Investigative Journalism/ Premium Times