The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday said that it had commenced prosecution of some of the ad-hoc staff accused of involvement in electoral malpractices during the 2019 general election.
Against the background of controversy that trailed the alleged electronic transmission of results of the last presidential election, INEC said it would like to make it clear that the results of the November 16 governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States would be collated and transmitted manually as dictated by the law.
Speaking yesterday at the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room dialogue session with resident electoral commissioners of the two states, INEC’s National Commissioner of Information, Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Festus Okoye, said the commission had barred some ad-hoc staff from participating in the conduct of its elections, while some who participated in the 2019 general election would be facing prosecution.
“Majority of our ad-hoc staff performed creditably well in the last general election and we commend them for their patriotism. However, the commission has barred some of them who violated its rules and some of them will be handed over to the police for prosecution and some are already being prosecuted,” he said.
Okoye said INEC would commence the process of creating new permanent polling units and constituencies by the first quarter.
Okoye said: ” By the first quarter of 2020, the commission will consult relevant stakeholders and take a bold and courageous step on the creation of additional polling units and adjustment of constituencies in the country.”
He said the commission could not continue with the adhoc arrangement of creating emergency polling units as stop gaps during elections.
Speaking on preparations for the conduct of the governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States, the national commissioner said that INEC was in the final stages of deployment, having deployed sensitive materials for the polls.
While giving statistics of voter population, Okoye said that a total of 1,646,750 registered voters would take part in voting in the 2,544 polling units in the Kogi governorship election.
He said that 23 political parties would be participating in the election, while 45 parties would be on the ballot in Bayelsa governorship poll.
He said INEC National Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, would hold the last batch of consultations with stakeholders and community leaders by November 7 to ensure that all goes well during the election.
According to Okoye, INEC has taken adequate measures to protect its staff on election duty especially the presiding officers and returning officers from any form of harassment and intimidation.
With regard to the issue of election security, the Deputy Commissioner of Police in Kogi State said that approval had been given for the deployment of 25,000 policemen during the governorship election.
Similarly, the Nigeria Security Civil Defence Corp (NSDC) said that it is planning to deploy 10,000 men to ensure peaceful election in Kogi State.
Earlier, the Convener of the Civil Society Situation Room, Mr. Clement Nwankwo, said the group has been engaging election stakeholders including, representatives of INEC, Police and other observer groups for two days, adding that issues such as vote buying, intimidation and harassment of voters by thugs featured most.