INEC Officers Connive with Politicians to Sabotage Polls, Says Observer Group

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Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), an election observer group, has noted with concern, a few cases where the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials connived with politicians to sabotage the electoral process in Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections.

The group, in its preliminary report, also noted with concern the reported killings in parts of the country, while urging security agencies to ensure culprits are brought to book

Its Acting Executive Director, Ms. Faith Nwadishi, stated this during a press conference Sunday in Abuja, where she said that though there were some challenges with the conduct of the elections in some states of the federation, but added that the frameworks and mechanisms put in place by the Commission ensured the polls were credible.

The group added that despite fears of concern, following the initial postponement of the election, INEC performed credibly well, while also commending the quick response of the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mamood Yakubu, ordering the arrest of erring officials who connived with politicians to sabotage the electoral process.

She stressed that simultaneous accreditation and voting introduced by the electoral body in no small measure contributed to the relative success of the elections.

Nwadishi pointed out that reports from observers deployed by CTA across the country indicated that the elections were still marred by challenges ranging from late arrival of materials and personnel, malfunctioning card readers, shortage of sensitive and non-sensitive materials, pockets of violence in some states resulting in killings and disruption of voting, missing names of registered voters from the electoral register, and poor management of RACS on the polling day.

She stated: “We also note with concern, a few cases of INEC officials conniving with politicians to sabotage the electoral process. For example in parts of Imo State, INEC officials connived with politicians to withhold electoral materials thereby preventing the elections from holding. We commend the quick response of the INEC chairman in arresting the situation and ordering the arrest of the erring officials.”

She noted that in most cases where card readers malfunctioned, the electoral body was able to respond in a timely manner to either fix the problem or replace such malfunctioning card readers.

According to Nwadishi, “While INEC generally displayed dedication, we observed that some of them were still grappling with a basic understanding of their roles as well as the capacity to operate the card readers.

“There were widespread reports of late arrival of materials and personnel across the country even though the RACs were activated a night before. From our observation, this was due to lack of poor deployment of materials and personnel to various places.

“The perchance for the use of political thugs, vote buying, the predilection for compromising the security agencies have all combined to pose serious threats to the political process by the political class/political parties.”