INEC bars ‘negligent’ staff from governorship elections

Speaks on hitches during presidential poll

As the wave of criticisms hauled at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) continues to rise, the electoral umpire has come out to say officials responsible for the infractions in last Saturday’s presidential election will not be allowed to take part in the gubernatorial polls.

Disclosing this tough stance on Saturday, INEC chairperson, Mahmood Yakubu, who spoke  at a meeting with resident electoral commissioners (RECs) in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, said it was important for the commission to review performances from last week’s election and assess preparation for the forthcoming polls.

He noted that though much preparations had gone into the presidential election , which has been marred with controversies,  a number of issues ranging from technology, delay by election officials, and attitudes of political parties’ agents jeopardised the outcome.

Yakubu urged the RECs in the states to swiftly commence disciplinary action where evidence of wrongdoing has been established.

“No doubt, last week’s national elections raised a number of issues that require immediate, medium, and long-term solutions. The planning for the election was painstakingly done. However, its implementation came with challenges, some of them unforeseen,” he said.

“The issues of logistics, election technology, behaviour of some election personnel at different levels, attitude of some party agents and supporters added to the extremely challenging environment in which elections are usually held in Nigeria.

“We appreciate the sacrifice and doggedness of Nigerians and the dignity and maturity displayed by political leaders even in the context of divergent views about the election. A lot of lessons have been learnt.

“Of immediate concern to the commission is how the identified challenges can be addressed as we approach the concluding phase of the general election involving the largest number of constituencies i.e. 28 state governorship elections and 993 state houses of assembly seats.

“As we approach the governorship and state assembly elections, we must work harder to overcome the challenges experienced in the last election. Nothing else will be acceptable to Nigerians. All staff found to be negligent, whether they are regular or ad hoc officials, including collation and returning Officers, must not be involved in forthcoming elections. RECs must also immediately initiate disciplinary action where prima facie evidence of wrongdoing has been established.”

Yakubu said RECs will account for the failure to deploy logistics in the commission’s facilities across the country.

“RECs will be held responsible for any tardy arrangement or the failure to deploy electric power generators to collation centres or polling units where such facilities are needed. The commission has enough facilities in all the states of the federation. Failure to deploy them is simply inexcusable.

“Arising from last week’s election, the commission has received reports from our state offices well as complaints and petitions from political parties and candidates. Where infractions of any kind are proven, there will be redress”, added the INEC chairperson.


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