National Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, have been deployed to Imo, Abia and Taraba States, where supplementary governorship elections are to be conducted on Saturday, April 25.
They are to re-inforce the INEC staff on ground in the states to ensure that the polls are free, fair and acceptable to all the candidates contesting the elections and their political parties.
Speaking to Global Patriot Newspapers, Mr. Kayode Idowu, the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of INEC, said that with the National Commissioners of INEC on ground in the three states, there was no need for the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega to be physically present in any of the states to supervise the polls.
Mr. Idowu was reacting to a call by the Abia State government and the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for Prof. Jega to come to the state to personally conduct the governorship supplementary poll as they had lost confidence in the Residenl Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Selina Okoh and the Returning Officer, Prof Benjamin Ozumba.
The Abia state government, speaking through the State’s Commissioner of Information and strategy, Dr. Anthony Agbazuere had complained that the two officials were working against their party’s candidate, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, and called for their withdrawal from the state before Saturday’s election.
But stressing that all the complaints that had so far come to INEC from Abia and other States had been investigated, Mr. Idowu said that wherever the commission had identified substance in any of the complaints, such had been summarily dealt with whereas those complaints without substance had been discountenanced.
He said that to the best of his knowledge, no REC or Returning Officer was being withdrawn from any of the states where supplementary elections were being held and reassured that INEC would do everything within its power to ensure that Saturday’s elections are free, fair and generally acceptable.
He further stressed that even after elections had been completed nationwide, INEC would still conduct a comprehensive investigation of the entire electoral process, involving the presidential, national assembly, governorship and state assembly elections.