Group Urges INEC To Stop Using University Lecturers As Returning Officers

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A Coalition of Civil Society Organization (CSO), has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to stop using University Lecturers to conduct election on behalf of the Commission.

The coalition under the aegis of SouthWest Transparency Forum (STF), made this known in a statement signed by Otunba Bamidele Olajide, the Coalition National Coordinator and Princess Oluwayemisi Daniel, Coalition National Secretary.

According to the Coalition, the decision to stop using University Lecturers became imperative since the Commission cannot hold them accountable for compromising or engaging in electoral fraud.

The Coalition demanded the use of INEC staffs in all INEC organised elections to enable the Commission take decisive decision and disciplinary action in case an officer compromise in his or her assignments.

“INEC must do everything possible to help promote our democracy as a matter of National urgency; the use of Vice Chancellors and others to conduct elections must stop with immediate effect.

“We are condemning all but majority of them are corrupt as we have seen in recent governorship elections and others.

“Nigerians must understand that INEC can’t hold them accountable since they are not INEC staffs. It’s difficult to prosecute them or even discipline them when the violates in an assignment.

“Therefore, we are urging INEC to stop using them as Returning Officers; they shouldn’t be used since they are not accountable to INEC.”

The Coalition also urged the National Assembly to expedite the process of amending the electoral act before the 2023 general election. the Coalition said the passage of the bill will rekindle the hope of Nigerians in the democratic process.

According to the Coalition, the bill will also give INEC the opportunity to prepare for the coming off-season elections.

“We wish to call on the National Assembly to immediately commit to the early passage of the Bill for an Act to Repeal the Electoral Act No. 5, 2010 (As Amended).

“It is our candid believe that the National Assembly has the resources and manpower to complete the post-public hearing process and pass the Electoral Bill.

It has become imperative and instructive, so that it could be tested and used in good time for the 2021 Anambra governorship election.

“Consequently, our clarion call for an early passage, will not only help to rekindle the hope of Nigerians in the democratic process, it will equally give INEC the ample opportunity to start the year fully prepared for the coming off-season elections.

“As elections remain the most critical aspect of democracy world over, it has become inevitable that we must address the deficits in the electoral system to entrench enduring electoral reforms and strengthen the capacity of INEC to conduct free, fair and credible elections and guarantee electoral integrity.

“We also want to emphasize that the way that this process is handled will be very critical to improving the level of trust and confidence of citizens in the democratic process, and the National Assembly must do everything to reclaim the trust of Nigerians in the electoral process. The legislative body must be willing and committed to making the necessary sacrifice in the overall interest of the country for the timely passage of this bill.”