2019: INEC beams searchlight on workers romancing with politicians

Posted by Sunday Isuwa, Abuja | 22 December 2018 | 602 times

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•INEC Chairman, Yakubu Mahmood

Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is monitoring its workers nationwide who may be fraternising with politicians.

The commission said it would also properly screen people and organisations seeking to observe the 2019 polls to ensure that those having connection with candidates and political parties are excluded. INEC said the purpose of accrediting observers for elections was a noble one intended to increase the transparency and openness of the process, adding that observing elections would not be left in the hands of political parties, candidates and political interest groups.

The commission’s chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, who revealed this at the swearing-in of Mrs Rose Oriaran-Anthony as the third INEC secretary and second woman to hold the position, said the monitoring of its staff was now in full force in order to ensure transparency in the 2019 general elections.

Yakubu stated: “As we approach the 2019 general elections, the commission will pay particular attention to the conduct of our own officials from the headquarters to the state and local government areas, including ad hoc staff engaged in election duty.

“We will not tolerate the complicity of staff with political actors or their agents to subvert the electoral process. All officials of the commission must remain neutral in the discharge of their duties and committed to protecting the sanctity of the process”.

He further stated that INEC was concerned at the calibre of groups and individuals applying to be observers in the coming elections.

“The commission has been inundated by applications from several groups within the country for accreditation to observe the elections, including support groups of candidates contesting in the elections. This is unacceptable to the commission. Observers are neutral groups interested only in the process and not agents of political parties, candidates or campaign organisations,” Yakubu said, adding that a thorough screening will be done.

He continued: “The purpose of accrediting observers for elections is a noble one intended to increase the transparency and openness of the process. The reports of observers also serve as a useful feedback mechanism for strengthening our processes and procedures.

“It is therefore counter-productive for such an important process to become an all-comers business. Going forward, the commission has revised the guidelines for the accreditation of observers. Interested organisations are required to apply to the commission. Details will be published this weekend and early next week in national newspapers and on the commission’s website.

“We shall critically scrutinise all applications from organisations interested in election observation and only those that meet the rigorous criteria will be accredited”.

Excerpted from a Leadership report

Source: News Express

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