Ihenacho Nwosu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended 205 staff over various “unwholesome roles” in the 2015 general election.
Commission Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this in a keynote address at a national colloquium organised by the Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group (ISDMG), in Abuja, yesterday.
Yakubu said the interdiction, recommended by INEC’s Appointments, Promotion and Discipline Committee (APDC), was the highest so far.
He said constructive criticisms from the public has helped the commission to get better in delivering its mandate, vis-a-vis conducting credible elections and also, reassured Nigerians that INEC will conduct free and fair elections in 2019 and that its officers are already in the field; working towards the success of next year’s polls.
“We will never, never fail this nation,” Yakub assured. For this purpose, he said “the competence level of the commission’s staff across the country is being scrutinized; to ensure that they are in a position to deliver on their assignments.”
Yakubu also assured that “votes will count; that is the promise I can give to all Nigerians”.
The INEC chairman charged the citizens play their role by ensuring that are not used by unscrupulous elements to undermine the commission.
“INEC has done what it expected to do, the citizens must do their own.
“I can assure you that we are fully prepared for the 2019 elections and it is going to be better than the 2015 elections.
“I have been involved in the best profession—teaching. INEC job is a calling. It is not a job.
“Some of us have integrity and I will make myself available to answer questions to the best of my knowledge.”
On how the table looks like, as regards the ongoing voter’s registration, Yakubu disclosed that Rivers State is topping the list while Anambra and Borno are second and third, respectively.
He named Delta, Lagos, Cross River, Osun, Enugu, Kano and Plateau as fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively,
Aside that, Yakubu said the Commission is in talks with the Nigerian Communications Commission, to help liaise with telecommunications service providers to assist in sending bulk messages to millions of voters who are yet to collect their Permanent Voter Cards which are still in the offices of the electoral body.