2019 polls: INEC redeploys staff in Kwara

AHEAD of the coming elections, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Kwara state, Mallam Garba Madami, has redeployed some staff of the commission.

Speaking with journalists in Ilorin on Thursday, the INEC boss, who said that the affected staff had overstayed in one location, added that the development may influence the election.

“As far as INEC Kwara is concerned, we are going to conduct free, fair and credible elections that everybody will be proud of. That is why I redeployed some of my staff that I have overstayed in one location.

“After the November 2018 National Assembly by-election in Ekiti/Oke-Ero/Isin/Irepodun Federal constituency, politicians started to lobby for my transfer to another state because of my sincerity and standing by what I have believed is right. But INEC headquarters called and said I am not going anywhere.

“Do you know why? Because Kwara is not just the eye of Nigeria in politics, it is the eye of the international community; if we get it right in Kwara INEC will get it right across the country.

“As a result of that, I received calls from highly placed individuals including some emirs and kabiyesis for taking that action. But I told them I am here in the state to conduct free and fair elections.

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‘If any of your wards do not go for that posting, collect his or her resignation letter and I will forward it to Abuja,” he said.

On election violence, the resident electoral commissioner said:

“Violence in elections is caused by three things. The first is INEC. If INEC is not neutral then there will be a problem. Secondly, if the security agencies are not neutral there will also be a problem.

Thirdly, the politicians themselves, the politicians are the ones that hire thugs; they are the ones that cause problems.

“They are the ones that will send their children abroad and then use the children of the poor to cause mayhem. As soon as there is a crisis they will be the first to leave the country with their private jets leaving to suffer the consequences. We have to be wary of them.

“That is why I want to say very clearly here that we have what is called inter-agency consultative committee on election security
(ICCES) and it is headed by the police. Remember that election is a civic duty that does not require the services of the army. The army is to serve as a back-up.

“Our politicians are so desperate this time around because our card readers and the PVCs work fairly very well in 2015. Now our card readers’ workability is about 90 per cent. We have upgraded them.

Nobody will be disenfranchised. The election is going to count and the issue of rigging in the past is gone because even our ballot papers are coded from the polling unit to the next. From the local government, it is coloured.

“This accounts for the reason why desperate politicians are going for vote-buying. We are doing everything possible to minimally curtail vote-buying.

We have set a mechanism in motion to monitor political spending. That is the major reason why politicians have not been spending money lavishly in their various campaigns.”

Earlier, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), Prof Sulyman Abdulkareem decried the palpable tensions and fear ahead of the forthcoming elections.

“The worrying and threatening situations we have been witnessing or seeing in the apparent desperation for winning power by
all means call for a need to promote dialogue and strategic engagement with all key stakeholders in our electoral process,” he said.

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