INEC absolves self from electoral malpractices

Attahiru Jega

The electoral body says the society is to blame for recurrent cases of electoral malpratice

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it is not to blame for electoral malpractices in Nigeria.

The commission’s administrative secretary in Rivers, Edem Effanga, said this in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, when she blamed ad-hoc staff of the commission for many of the lapses.

Mr. Effanga said many of the returning officers are ad-hoc staff who are only temporarily recruited by the commission for specific elections.

“We give the electorate the trust and power to conduct elections by employing part-time members from the host communities during elections,” she said. “Instead of delivering, they would betray us by conspiring with some corrupt politicians to either inflate or deflate votes count.”

The administrative secretary also blamed rigging on the gullibility of the electorate, who, he said, were easily swayed by greed for material possessions.

Mr. Effanga said experience had shown that rigging always took place at registration and voter’s level during which ghost electorate and under-age were usually registered and allowed to vote.

“Do you expect us to be in all the booths in the country to prevent rigging? Of course not, because we expect Nigerians to do the right thing,” he said.

Rigging, he said, had become a way of life for some electorates who depend on pecuniary gifts from corrupt politicians as means of livelihood.

He urged the electorate to shun all forms of electoral malpractice, directly or indirectly, to save the nation’s democracy.

Mr. Effanga, who said that the commission would soon commence voters’ registration, advised the electorate to put the country first before every selfish interest.

“Until the electorate change for good, even with electronic counting machines, there would be rigging because it is they that would operate it,” he said.

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