Muhammed Abubakar, Reporting
SEEMINGLY remorseful Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has vowed to redress proven complaints over refractions in the last presidential election as well as punish erring officials
Chairman of the electoral umpire, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, made the promise on Saturday at its 3rd meeting in less than two months in Abuja.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the conduct of the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections held a week ago, and the Governorship and State Assembly elections holding next week.
He said the commission has, after last week’s flawed presidential election, been inundated with reports of infractions by INEC officials and ad-hoc staff.
He detailed Resident Electoral Commissioners to identify the erring officials, eliminate and replace them ahead of March 11 election as well as produce them for punishment..
“Arising from last week’s election, the Commission has received reports from our State offices as well as complaints and petitions from political parties and candidates.
“Where infractions of any kind are proven, there will be redress. I must add that any action taken by the Commission is without prejudice to the rights of parties and candidates to seek further remedy as provided by law,” he noted.
He warned INEC officials to be more circumspect and thorough in next Saturday’s election to restore confidence of Nigerians to the electoral process.
“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.
“Election Day logistics must be finalised days before the election and handled by the Electoral Officers (EOs) at Local Government level. This has been our standard practice. Centralising the process as was done in some States resulted in delayed deployment of personnel and materials and late commencement of polls.
“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.
“Refresher training must be conducted for ad hoc staff that participated in the last election. Where they are replaced for good reason, they must be properly trained so that processes are not delayed or compromised at any stage,” he noted.