During a meeting with state Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in Abuja on Saturday, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, provided several directives ahead of the upcoming governorship and state assembly elections.
In light of the issues raised over alleged irregularities in the previous presidential and National Assembly elections, Yakubu emphasized the need for a transparent and credible electoral process.
Yakubu ordered that ad hoc staff be made to undergo refresher training to ensure that the electoral process is not compromised or delayed. He further noted that if staff are replaced for good reason, they must undergo proper training so that the electoral processes are not compromised.
The INEC Chairman expressed concern over the issues raised during the previous elections, which led to allegations of electoral irregularities. In his words, “Nothing else will be acceptable to Nigerians.” He urged the electoral body and RECs to work harder to overcome the challenges that were experienced in the previous elections, and ensure that Nigerians can trust the electoral process.
In addition to the refresher training, Yakubu also ordered that staff found to be negligent in the conduct of the previous presidential and National Assembly elections be dismissed. He stated that all staff found to be negligent, including Collation and Returning Officers, whether they are regular or ad hoc officials, must not be involved in the forthcoming elections. Yakubu emphasized that RECs must immediately initiate disciplinary action where there is prima facie evidence of wrongdoing.
The directives given by Yakubu demonstrate the seriousness with which the INEC is taking the upcoming governorship and state assembly elections. The commission recognizes the importance of ensuring that the electoral process is transparent and credible, and is taking proactive steps to achieve this goal.
The refresher training for ad hoc staff and the dismissal of negligent staff are two such steps, which will go a long way in ensuring the success of the upcoming elections.
The INEC Chairman’s call for transparency and credibility in the electoral process is crucial in building trust between the electorate and the electoral body. By providing a level playing field and ensuring that every vote counts, the INEC can reassure Nigerians that their voices are being heard and that their votes count.
With these measures in place, Nigerians can look forward to a free, fair, and credible electoral process in the upcoming governorship and state assembly elections.