Posted by News Express | 23 August 2016 | 3,817 times
Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has declared that 100 staff of the commission are currently under probe for various forms of corruption.
Yakubu , who also believed that inconclusive polls are consequence of electoral violence, advocated punishment for electoral offenders in the country to deter would-be offenders, and therefore, called for the establishment of Electoral Offences Commission and Tribunal, as prescribed by the Justice Mohammed Uwais and Ahmed Lemu Commissions.
The INEC chair stated this yesterday during his media advocacy to the headquarters of The Punch, The Nation, The Guardian, and Nigerian Tribune in Lagos and Ibadan respectively.
On the electoral body’s fight against corruption, Yakubu declared that, “so far, over a hundred staff of INEC had been invited. At a point, we toyed with the idea of speaking to the EFCC to see the weight of evidence they have so that we can take administrative action against our staff, but they are innocent until they are proven guilty. They have to be charged to court, but we have taken notice and we have a complete list.”
Though the list of invited staff kept increasing, he emphasised that the commission was co-operating with the EFCC, assuring that those found culpable would “be shown the way out.”
Speaking on the menace of inconclusive polls, the INEC boss noted that the only way to put to rest this spectre of violence that had continued to haunt the nation’s elections, was to put in place a mechanism that would punish offenders, arguing that “there are people who believe that they can do anything and get away with it.”
Although, inconclusive elections, according to him, were caused by violence and over voting, Yakubu observed that they were also compounded by the recent evolution of two strong parties as opposed to the past where “we had one mega party and smaller ones.”
Yakubu said the contestation for political office was keener and the margins between the winners and runner ups were “so narrow that any incident of violence could mar the elections and render them inconclusive.”
To buttress his point, he cited the last presidential election where the margin between the winner and the runner up was 2.5 million and a councillorship election in Gwagwalada, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), which was won by only 11 votes, adding that “the
days of landslide election victory are gone, and gone for good.”
He traced the history of inconclusive elections to the 1979 presidential election, observing, however, that inconclusive elections were not strange to our laws.
Yakubu emphasised that the commission under his watch was irrevocably determined to ensure each vote counted.
The INEC boss said logistics which used to be one of the perennial Achilles heels of the commission had been addressed squarely by the creation of SUPER RACs, and that the consequence of this was that the commission recorded 92% opening of Polling Units on Election Day in the Kogi governorship election and 100% in the recent Ife and Minjibir Constituency bye-elections in Oyo and Kano states, respectively.
He expressed optimism that following representations made by INEC to the Presidency, the outstanding six National Commissioners and 21 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) would soon be appointed to replace those whose tenures have lapsed.
The INEC boss stressed that the prerogative of nominating or appointing the commissioners was that of the President.