The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended 205 staff over various unwholesome roles in the 2015 general elections in Nigeria.
INEC’s Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this in his keynote address at national colloquium organised by the Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group (ISDMG) on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said that the interdiction, recommended by INEC’s Appointments, Promotion and Discipline Committee (APDC), was the highest so far.
Mr. Mahmud said that constructive criticisms from the public had helped the commission to get better in delivering its mandate vis-a-vis conducting credible elections.
He said that commission’s electoral officers were already in the field working towards the success of the 2019 elections.
“We have to put the right people in place as electoral officers and assistant electoral officers for the 2019 general elections.
“The credibility of an election depends on the credibility of the election manager; the credulity of the election manger depends on the credibility of the staff.
“The APDC recommended the interdiction of 205 staff found culpable in various roles they played arising from the 2015 general elections—this is the highest number of interdictions since the history of the commission.
“We have within the some of the most patriotic staff in the country; but anybody found wanting will be dealt with accordingly.’’
He said that the introduction of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) had increased voter registration.
The INEC boss listed the top states in CVR as Rivers, Anambra, Borno, Delta, Lagos, Cross-River, Osun, Enugu, Kano and Plateau.
Mr Mahmud said the commission had conducted elections in 179 constituencies so far, adding that of only five had been challenged in court which attested to the credibility of the elections.
He said that at present, INEC had received over 100 additional applications for new political parties, while nine had met the criteria.
“We may end up having up to 80 political parties for the 2019 general elections,’’ he said.
The INEC chairman gave an assurance that the 2019 elections would be better than that of 2015.
Earlier in his speech, Chima Amadi, the Executive Director, ISDMG, said that INEC had been the most responsive of all government agencies involved in the election value chain.
He said that INEC had been taking advice and constructive criticisms and adjusting its activities to reflect same while such could not be said about others within the chain.
“The security agencies continue to behave true to type and are even getting worse, while political gladiators horn their manipulative stock-in-trade.
“However, we are resolved to take them to task with the same resilience that we used in getting INEC to act properly.
“For the 2019 elections, the ISDMG will be deploying cutting edge technology to the field to ensure that history is properly documented,’’ he said.
The highlight of the event was the unveiling of a book/report titled: “INEC Beyond 2015, Overview, Challenges and Prospects.’’
The report was written by Mr Amadi, Faith Nwadishi, MacDonald Ekemezie, Abdul Mahmud, James Ugochukwu and Atambi Ade.