Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, has said so far not less than 100 staff of the commission have been invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He said based on the revelations, the number facing investigation has kept increasing.
In a statement issued by the commission monday, Yakubu said though the list of staff has kept increasing, the commission was co-operating with the anti-graft commission and that ultimately staff who were culpable would “be shown the way out.”
According to him, “So far, over a hundred staff of INEC have 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. Any nation that does not punish violators is doomed.”
This refrain was the thread that ran through the interactions between the INEC Chairman and media executives as he visited the offices of four national newspapers, namely: The Tribune, Punch, The Nation and The Guardian last Thursday and Friday.
Yakubu who made clarion calls for the establishment of the Electoral Offences Commission and Tribunal as prescribed by the Justice Mohammed Uwais and Ahmed Lemu Commissions at each of his visits, noted that inconclusive elections were brought about largely by violence and that the only way to put to rest this spectre of violence that continues to haunt elections is to put in place a mechanism that punished offenders, arguing that “there are people who believe that they can do anything and get away with it.”
On the vacant positions in the INEC board, Yakubu expressed optimism that following representations made by the commission 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.
He stressed that the prerogative of nominating or appointing the commissioners was that of the president.