Some three lecturers alleged to have been found culpable of electoral malpractices during the 2019 general election in Akwa Ibom State are to be arraigned by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). This was revealed by the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Mike Igini, while addressing newsmen yesterday at the Commission’s Head Office in Uyo, the state capital. Similarly, three staffers of the Commission from the ICT Unit whose involvement in electoral malpractices were proven beyond reasonable doubt have been sacked. According to Igini, this action has become absolutely necessary because of the unsustainable belief by some members of the public that the commission does not sanction persons involved in electoral malpractices during elections.
He, however, added that the importance of the action could not be over-emphasised, saying: “We must have an institution that has integrity to protect the will of the people in any election. This will serve as a lesson and a clear message to those who will engage in an INEC job in future in this state particularly those playing the role of supervising presiding officers as a very important link and as the last set of people in charge of election materials particularly the ballot papers and result sheets.”
He, however, regretted that despite the training of the electoral officers and staff of the commission, they went a different way in involving themselves in unethical conduct by manipulating and falsifying election results, thereby producing outcomes that were contrary to the will of the people. “The lecturers, who were engaged as Collation and Returning Officers during the 2019 general elections were reported to have manipulated and falsified election results aimed at producing outcomes contrary to the will of the people as expressed through the ballot. “Following a formal request by the Commission the authorities of the affected institutions released the lecturers to appear before an investigative panel set up by INEC Headquarters on August 12 and 26, 2020.”