The Independent National Electoral Commission has commenced the arraignment of electoral officials indicted in the just concluded general elections in Akwa Ibom state.
Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Akwa Ibom State, Barr. Mike Igini, had vowed that all officials, including INEC staff, lecturers and other categories of Adhoc staff involved in any form of sharp practice to circumvent the will of the people of the state, would be brought to book.
A release issued by the an official of the commission, Odaro Aisien on Tuesday, revealed that the electoral body has “dismissed three (3) members of staff of the Commission in Akwa Ibom State office who were fingered in misconduct during the elections.
The 2019 elections in Akwa Ibom had been generally peaceful, except for some parts of Essien Udim where the electoral umpires admitted abduction, hijack of materials and other sharp practices, leading to the rerun in the area in February 2020.
Top on the list of those being arraigned are University lecturers indicted in the act of malpractice when they were engaged as Collation and Returning Officers during the elections.
According to the release, they were reported to have manipulated and falsified election results to produce 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…who will be “arraigned in Court accordingly”.
Similarly, the staff who were suspended “had appeared before the Appointment, Promotion and Disciplinary Committee (APDC) of the Commission that found them culpable of acts of gross misconduct and accordingly dismissed them in line with extant rules”.