The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has issued 202 queries to its staff members in connection with election malpractices.
The Chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu, made this known while briefing Civil Society Organisations under the umbrella of Situation Room on INEC’s preparations for 2019 elections on Thursday in Abuja.
According to him, the commission will not tolerate violation of the Electoral Act no matter who is involved.
“So far, we have issued 202 queries to the staff mentioned in the interim EFCC report covering election in 16 states but we have finished work on 14 of the 16 states; whatever action we need to take will be taken.
“We will ensure that there is no more violation of the electoral act and we will spare no one who is perpetuating it.”
He said after what happened in Rivers, the commission had to set up its own administrative inquiry which indicted a number of staff members.
“Whoever is charged to court for that kind of offence is interdicted, meaning the staff would be suspended and placed on half salary until proven otherwise and that is what we have done.”
Mr. Yakubu said the staff remained innocent under INEC’s law until proven guilty, adding that the commission had begun to plan immediately for the 2019 elections, with a draft likely to be presented to major stakeholders in a few weeks’ time.
He said budget wise, INEC was considering breaking the budget over a two year period.
He said the early preparation would also afford INEC the opportunity to ensure that political parties did the right thing with regards to selection of candidates.
According to Mr. Yakubu, reviewing cases of the 80 elections nullified the last time, INEC’s scrutiny of the judgments led to the discovery that many were due to improper conduct of party primaries beginning from nomination of candidates.
“Somebody has not gone through the primaries but the name is presented to INEC.
“The electoral act says any candidate whose name is forwarded to the commission cannot be rejected.’’
He said there was need to continue to engage with parties.
He said INEC had conducted 167 elections since the last general elections and a little over 20 per cent did not meet the threshold.
“So, they were declared inconclusive and yet people who did not understand the antecedent resorted to bashing INEC.”