In a bid to ensure transparency, free and fair election in 2015, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC Attahiru Muhammadu Jega, has stated that any of the staff of the commission found guilty of rigging and other electoral malpracticeswill be prosecuted.
Jega who admitted the presence corrupt officials and staff in the commission gave this assurance at the official unveiling/public presentation of strategic programme of action of INEC from 2012 to 2016 to political parties and electoral stakeholders in Abuja.
He said that no INEC official or staff is immune from prosecution adding that his assessment of what has happened previously showcased that few bad eggs were in the commission and have been quietly dealt with accordingly but not captured in the media.
“INEC officials are not immune to prosecution. In fact, since we came here, as a commission we have prosecuted INEC officials, probably it was not well advertised but we prosecuted INEC officials who have been found guilty of breaching established laws, rules and regulations; we have also quietly shown people the way out.”
“There were many people who were indicted for activities incompatible with the objectives and responsibility they were expected to bring to this job. We have retired people. We have dismissed people and asked people to withdraw their services. We have done a lot quietly and it is not something that really should have been advertised in our view”, Said Jega.
The assurance given by INEC boss was prompted by various knocks given by chairmen of some political parties including SamNkire of the Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA, Chekwas Okorie of the United Progressive Party, UPP, and Victor Umeh of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA.
Umeh had called for a review of adhoc staff recruitment by INEC, noting that their activities posed great threats to the success ofINEC’s efforts in conducting credible elections.
He said that there are bad soldiers/policemen who forcefully change results or make things untidy and have never been reported byINEC, adding that these attitude taints the electoral body’s image.
“I don’t know if INEC staffs are immune to prosecution. Before now, they are the ones who give result sheets before elections. There are bad eggs who help to doctor results”, he said.
Nkire also emphasised the need to checkmate corrupt INEC officials whom had given it a bad image, while Okorie stressed the need to expedite action on the Electronic Voting System EVS, saying it would limit the mistakes of the commission.