INEC Sacks Plateau Returning Officer

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Mahmood Yakubu
Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has sacked one of its collation officers, Prof. Musa Izam, assigned to Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State.

Izam, a physics lecturer at the University of Jos, had earlier attempted to abscond without declaring the results of Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections but was apprehended by youths in the area, who forced him back to the collation centre.

“We had to remove him because he was drunk and could not perform the assignment,” Head, Voter Education, of INEC in Plateau, Mr. Osaretin Imahiyereobo, has said.

He said that INEC had to act fast to avoid delay in the collation exercise.

“We are waiting for him to come to Jos and explain why he behaved the way he did,’’ he added. Izam, who started the collation of the results brought from the local government’s wards yesterday, told party agents, INEC officials and observers that he needed a little time to ease himself.

The official, however, disappeared from the centre and took off to Jos.

According to PDP chairman in Bokkos Local Government, Mr. Michael Abi, some youths, who saw Izam leaving the centre, quickly mobilised and chased him.

“The youths chased him and caught up with him at Maikatako near Kuba, about 40 kilometres away from Bokkos.

“When he was brought back to the collation centre, he quickly apologised and promised to continue with his work.

“His attitude is shocking, considering the crucial nature of this assignment.

“He has refused to work and this has delayed the collation and declaration of the outcome of the presidential and National Assembly elections in the local government, ’’ he said.

Former Plateau State Commissioner of Justice, Mr. Jonathan Mawuyau, who was at the centre, apologised to the angry party agents, INEC officials and observers, urging them to be patient with the official.

Mawuyau, an APC stalwart, who agreed that the Professor’s attitude was “shocking and uncalled for,’’ urged the anxious election officials to forgive Izam.

But Izam, in an interview, denied ever absconding.

“I only went to visit a friend in town but the people misconstrued the whole thing.

“I only stepped out to go and see a friend along with the Special Adviser to Governor Simon Lalong on Security matters”