By Oloniruha Bamiyo Emmanuel
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has denied allegation by Mr Jimoh Ibrahim, that its acting Director, Legal Services, Mrs Toyin Babalola demanded $1million bribe from him.
The commission, via a statement issued on Monday in Abuja, by Mr Adedeji Soyebi, INEC National Commissioner in charge of Publicity, said the allegation was far from the truth.
Ibrahim’s name was submitted to INEC by the disputed National Chairman of the PDP, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff-led faction as the party’s candidate for the Ondo State Nov.26 governorship election.
The PDP National Caretaker Committee, led by Sen. Ahmed Makarfi, also submitted Mr Eyitayo Jegede to INEC as PDP candidate for the same election.
Ibrahim at a press conference on Sunday, alleged that the officer demanded bribe from him, before the order made by Justice Okon Abang of Federal High Court, Abuja would be complied with by the Commission.
INEC also quoted Ibrahim of accusing the commission’s Resident Electoral Commissioner for Ondo State, Mr Segun Agbaje of some “dirty deals.”
Soyebi said that preliminary investigation carried out, showed that the allegation was far from the truth.
“On the first allegation, our investigation revealed that Mr Ibrahim turned up at the INEC headquarters, Abuja unannounced.
“Ibrahim made his way to Mrs Babalola’s office brandished a copy of the court document.
“He insisted that INEC should accept him as the official candidate of the PDP for the Ondo State governorship poll.”
Soyebi said that on sighting the unexpected guest, Babalola called three other lawyers in her department to witness her encounter with Ibrahim.
“At no time during the encounter that lasted less than 15 minutes did Mrs Babalola ask for $1million.
“Therefore, the allegation by Mr Ibrahim is false.
“It should however be noted that court orders/judgments are served by court bailiffs and not individual parties.
“Furthermore, INEC only receives nomination papers from the national chairmen of political parties or their designated officials and not aspirants,” he said.
On the allegation on the Ondo State resident electoral commissioner, Soyebi stated that investigation also revealed that it was not true.
On investigation, he said that it was discovered that it was Ibrahim, who through an intermediary, tried to arrange a meeting with the commissioner in London.
“This Mr Agbaje promptly declined and insisted that if Mr Ibrahim wanted to see him (Agbaje), he was free to do so at the 0ndo State INEC office during official hours.
“Therefore, Mr lbrahim’s allegation cannot be the correct account of what actually took place,” he said.
Soyebi re-assured Nigerians that INEC would never succumb to any form of blackmail or intimidation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), recalls that INEC had given the party Oct. 27 to present its candidate.