A Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Olusegun Agbaje, yesterday, alleged that former governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko attempted to bribe him to change the results of the presidential and National Assembly elections in 2015.
Agbaje, who was one of the seven newly sworn-in Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said he was invited to Ondo State Government House at about 1:30 a.m., for a meeting with the governor, which he turned down.
Agbaje, who is a returnee REC, served as INEC electoral officer in Ondo State in 2015. He was elected to respond on behalf of other REC members after their swearing-in yesterday in Abuja.
He said: “In 2015, after the presidential election, about 1:30 a.m., we were doing collation in the conference room in Ondo State at the conference hall. I got a call at about 1:30a.m. The then Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta was our returning officer.
“The call came from the governor of the state asking me at that time to quickly see him at the Government House in Ondo State. I said, ‘Your Excellency, this is a very ungodly hour. We had started the particular job of collation and any REC that is worth his salt will not abandon the returning officer in Ondo and go to Akure to go and meet a governor’.
“He said okay, if I could not come to Government House, he would meet me at my residence. I said ‘Your Excellency, since I came to Ondo you have not visited me. Why would it be 1:30 a.m. in the night? I told him I would not come’.
“Less than 10 minutes later, a brother of mine working in the service in Abuja sent me a text which read that Segun Agbaje, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ondo State is now with Governor Mimiko collecting N50 million.
“I felt I should share this because this is part of the areas that you can fall prey and if somebody is not very careful, you can get into trouble because I could have gone there, cameras could have been set for me which later in the morning, before we declare the result of National Assembly and presidential elections, which we were to forward to the national headquarters for final collation, I could get a call that if I don’t change the results that I was about to declare, that it would be published and then I would be in serious trouble,” he narrated.
But Chief Press Secretary to the former governor, Eni Akinsola, said Mimiko has not been involved in any illegality while in office.
Akinsola, who was contacted for his reaction, said the former governor might fully respond when appraised with the facts of the matter.
“As a governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko had cause to relate with the REC, as he had with the SSS, Police and indeed all agencies concerned with security and elections on several occasions before, during and after the election.
“He never did anything, however, to promote any illegality. He neither attempted nor sought the perversion of legal processes,” he defended.
Earlier, Prof. Yakubu had charged the newly sworn in RECs to be firm and courageous on the side of the law, as well as INEC’s regulations and guidelines.
He expressed the confidence that they would bring their past experiences to bear in their new assignment.