INEC: Unethical Practices by Election Officials Will Not Be Tolerated

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

Ahead of the Edo and Ondo States’ governorship elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared that unethical and corrupt practices by election officials will not be tolerated.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja at an annual lecture organised by the Electoral Institute (TEI), with the theme: ‘Achieving Professionalism among Election Personnel through Effective Training in Preparation for Edo and Ondo Off Cycle Governorship Elections.’

The chairman, who was represented by the Chairman, Board of The Electoral Institute (BEI), Prof. Abdullahi Zuru, said electoral officials should be guided by the principles of integrity, impartiality; transparency, professionalism, gender and disability sensitive; and due consideration and support for the elderly, pregnant women, nursing mothers and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). 

He said it was important that personnel of the commission for elections are knowledgeable, skilled and well-equipped with relevant competencies to handle the complexities and challenges of the electoral process. 

The chairman added that high sense of professionalism amongst election personnel engendered by effective training cannot be over emphasised. 

Yakubu noted that the crucial role election personnel play in upholding the integrity of democratic processes cannot be overstressed. 

He emphasised that the manner in which they discharge their duties and responsibilities affects the degree of confidence voters would have in the electoral process which would impact on their participation and turnout. 

Yakubu stated: “To ensure the credibility and trustworthiness in our elections and build trust among the electorate, it is imperative that we prioritize the professional development of our election personnel. 

“Consequently, the commission has always demanded that all election officials should be punctual, courteous, polite and helpful at all times. Voters are the masters and should be treated equally, decently and with utmost respect. 

“Unethical and corrupt practices by election officials will not be tolerated and shall incur severe punishments under the law.”

Yakubu stressed that achieving professionalism among election personnel was a critical step towards ensuring free, fair, credible and inclusive elections.

He said the commission’s involvement in effective training programmes has empowered its staff to uphold the highest standards of integrity and professionalism in order to strengthen electoral processes and procedures to serve the interests of all Nigerians.

Earlier, the Director General of the Electoral Institute (TEI), Dr. Sa’ad Idris, said the off-cycle elections in Edo and Ondo States present a significant opportunity to demonstrate the commission’s commitment to conducting free, fair, credible and inclusive elections. 

He noted that it was their responsibility as an Electoral Management  Body (EMB) to ensure that the electoral process was conducted with utmost professionalism and integrity.

This, he said, could only be achieved through rigorous training and continuous capacity building of election personnel.

Idris added that the commission, in its stride to enhance the capacity and competencies of its personnel through the Electoral Institute, developed various programmes to enhance the capacity of its staff.

According to him, the successes achieved by the commission in the recently conducted 2023 general election and other off-cycle governorship elections both in 2023 and 2024 bear credence to the fact that the investment made by the commission towards enhancement of the capacities of its trainers is a step in the right direction.

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