Three university lecturers alleged to have been found culpable in electoral malpractices during the 2019 general elections are to be arraigned in court by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Akwa Ibom State.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Mike Igini, who disclosed this to newsmen at the commission’s headquarters in Uyo yesterday, also said that three staffers in the ICT Unit that had their involvement in electoral fraud proven beyond reasonable doubt had been sacked.
According to Igini, the actions became absolutely necessary because of the belief by some members of the public that the commission does not sanction persons involved in electoral malpractice during elections.
“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 be engaged in INEC jobs in future in this state, particularly those playing the role of supervising presiding officers as a very important link, as the last set of people in charge of election materials, including the ballot papers and result sheets,” the REC said.
Igini expressed regret that, despite the training given to the electoral officers and staff of the commission, they went a different way to involve themselves in unethical conduct by manipulating and falsifying election result, thereby producing outcomes that were contrary to the will of the people.
He explained: “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 the 12th and 26th August 2020. The panel subsequently established a prima facie documentary evidence of deliberate criminal manipulation of election results against the collation/returning officers. They will be arraigned in court accordingly.”