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US congressman says Nigerian election results being tampered with

A RANKING member of the House of Representatives in the United States of America, Chris, Smith, has expressed misgivings with the ongoing collation of election results in Nigeria.

Smith claims he has intelligence reports that senior officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were being put under “enormous pressure” to tamper with election results.

“Yesterday, Nigeria voted. Today, votes are being counted. I am very concerned by credible reports that the vote is being tampered with,” Smith wrote in a statement published on his personal website on Sunday.

“To avoid any manipulation of the tally, it is critical that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announce without delay actual results — which are certified by party agents and observers — at each polling unit as the vote is tabulated.

“Well-placed sources report that in some states and localities — including Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, Abia — INEC commissioners are receiving enormous pressure to alter poll results.  This must not be allowed to happen.

“The eyes of the United States, of Africa, and the world are upon Nigeria and INEC.  I also ask Secretary Michael Pompeo to hold accountable anyone who seeks to cheat the Nigerian people — who have waited patiently — of their vote or foments violence.”

It is intriguing why Congressman Smith is alleging perceived electoral fraud so early into the collation process. Besides, Smith cannot be said to be an entirely neutral person as long as the presidential election in Nigeria is concerned.

Smith was one of the congressmen that met with Abubakar Atiku, presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), during his controversial visit to America earlier in January this year.

Atiku was banned from entering the United States for several years following some cases of corruption involving him. But he was granted a temporary waiver to visit the country in January after engaging the services of professional lobbyists who, according to reports, were paid in millions of dollars.

The US embassy in Nigeria has not issued any official statement so far regarding the ongoing collation of election results.

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