INEC to Overhaul Rivers Office, Punish 28 Indicted Staff

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Fixes Anambra governorship poll for Nov 18

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it would carry out a comprehensive reorganisation of its operational office in Rivers State to weed out bad eggs in its ranks.
The commission said all its indicted 28 staff members would face prosecution by the police in addition to internal administrative sanctions.

Also yesterday, the commission said it had approved timetable for the conduct of the Anambra State governorship election with the date of the election fixed for November 18.
Addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja, the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Publicity and Voter Education, Prince Solomon Soyebi, said apart from the 25 staff indicted by the Police Investigative Panel report, three additional staff members were also found wanting by the commission’s disciplinary panel.

He explained that since the staff were found guilty of both administrative and criminal offenses, they would be made to face separate sanctions.
Soyebi said the commission had resolved to fully co-operate with the police in ensuring that the affected staff faces prosecution.

He said commission had accepted to implement several recommendations that will improve the electoral process, adding that aising from the lessons learnt, “the commission will carry out a major overhaul of the entire Rivers State INEC office”.

On the other hand, Soyebi said the commission has accepted a recommendation of its panel to commend its staff and ad-hoc staff, Prof. Ralph Echebiri and Prof. Oji O. Ekemankama both of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike who served in Rivers West and East Senatorial Districts respectively and the Divisional Police Officer of Phalga at the time of the election, for his exemplary professional conduct.

Aguna Isaac and Ademola Oluwatoba of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), who served as Presiding Officers were also to be offered automatic employment by the commission.
According to the timetable, the Anambra State governorship election will take place on Saturday, November 18.

Soyebi said there is no legal impediment stopping the election as at now, adding that the date is within 150 to 30 days before the expiration of the tenure of the incumbent.
“We are taking 120 days which is within the law guiding the conduct of elections and once we have fixed a date for an election it stands,” he added.