A Supervisory Presiding Officer (SPO) with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr. Francis Asmakia Ted, has accused the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Bayelsa State, Mr. Baritor Kpagih, of collecting a two hundred million naira (N200,000,000) bribe from the Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson.
In an Affidavit of Facts, Mr. Ted alleged that Governor Dickson offered Mr. Kpagih a N1 billion bribe to illegally tilt the December 5th polls in Bayelsa State in favor of Governor Dickson, stressing that the N200 million cash bribe was the initial payment.
According to the SPO, the financial inducement was the reason that Mr. Kpagih ignored the severe violence and irregularities in the Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Ekeremor, Nembe, and Ogbia. Instead, the REC focused on the violence in the Southern Ijaw LGA unilaterally declaring the results there as inconclusive.
In his petition to the INEC chair, dated December 22nd, 2015, Mr. Ted pointed out that in a recent newspaper publication Mr. Kpagih confessed that he was offered money to rig the election in favor of a particular candidate. During the interview, Mr. Kpagih claimed he refused to accept the bribe and that his life was threatened as a result.
Mr. Ted claimed that the REC lied during his interview with The Guardian newspaper as he accepted a bribe from Governor Dickson.
In the affidavit, Mr. Ted confirmed that he served as an SPO in the Bayelsa gubernatorial election and that he enjoyed a close friendship with Mr. Kpagih.
In fact, it was Mr. Kpagih who personally recruited Mr. Ted for the INEC job.
“Mr. Kapigh provided me with firm and specific instructions to report directly to him and gave me the mandate to gather all relevant information and draft intelligence reports across the State to assist him in his duties, which I carried out diligently,” Mr. Ted noted.
The SPO’s close relationship with Mr. Kpagih provided him with an excellent understanding of the details of Mr. Kpagih’s misdeeds. In addition, due to Mr. Ted’s knowledge of the operations of INEC in three senatorial districts Mr. Kpagih frequently requested Mr. Ted’s expertise.
Mr. Ted claimed that REC Kpagih confessed that he was summoned to the Government House in Yenagoa by Governor Dickson for a meeting. The agenda for this meeting focused on the ways in which Mr. Kpagih in his capacity as the REC could ensure that Governor Dickson is successfully re-elected.
Aside from the governor, Talford Ongolo, the governor’s Chief of Staff, was also present at this meeting. Mr. Kpagih informed Governor Dickson that he would need to consult with the commission in order to ascertain how he could best serve the governor.
The REC was then offered N1 billion in order to complete his “task”, with a N200 million advance.
Upon learning about the details of this meeting, Mr. Ted attempted to convince Mr. Kpagih to cease these illegal activities. Unfortunately, Mr. Kpagih could not be convinced.
On Saturday, December 5th, 2015, Mr. Kpagih dispatched two men unaffiliated with INEC to meet Governor Dickson’s representative in order to secure the funds promised, according to Mr. Ted.
Mr. Ted then saw the two men return to the office and exit their vehicle and deposit three bags loaded with cash into Mr. Kpagih’s car.
Mr. Kpagih then left his office to count the N200 million provided to him by Governor Dickson.
The INEC SPO stated that it was his belief in free and fair elections for Bayelsa State which caused him to speak out.
Below is Mr. Ted's full affidavit: