THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it is ready to prosecute the suspended Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Yunusa Hudu Ari, for his role in the 2023 elections.
The Commission also said it will work with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) to prosecute persons found to have engage in vote buying during the general elections.
The Chairman of the Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, stated this on Tuesday, July 4, while addressing Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Yakubu met with the RECs to mark the beginning of a month-long review of the 2023 general election conducted by the Commission.
He disclosed that that following the conclusion of investigations by the Police, the Commission will soon commence legal actions against Ari and 215 other electoral offenders.
“I can confirm that the Nigeria Police concluded its investigation of the conduct of our c State and submitted the case file to us. Appropriate action will be taken in a matter of days, and Nigerians will be fully informed.
“I can also confirm that we have received 215 case files from the Nigeria Police following their arrest and the conclusion of an investigation into electoral offences arising from the 2023 general election.
“We are working with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to prosecute the alleged offenders. Already, the NBA has submitted a list of 427 lawyers across the country who have volunteered to render pro bono services to the Commission,” Yakubu stated.
The INEC chairman said the lawyers are not charging legal fees, but by mutual agreement, the Commission will provide a token amount to cover filing fees/expenses.
“Similarly, we are working with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) on the prosecution of cases relating to vote-buying and associated violations,” he added.
He noted that INEC had taken administrative actions against some RECs who failed to discharge tasks assigned them during the polls.
“Many of you performed very well during the general election under extremely challenging circumstances. I commend you for that. However, a few of you did not properly manage the tasks lawfully bestowed upon you for which the Commission has taken some administrative actions. I urge you to remain loyal to your oath of office.”
The ICIR reported in April that former President Muhammadu Buhari approved the Adamawa REC’s suspension after he illegally declared the winner of the state governorship election while the collation of results had yet to conclude.
According to Electoral Act (2022), the Returning Officer for the election, rather than the REC, has the power to declare the winner of an election.