The Independent National Electoral Commission has stopped its officers, who are currently undergoing investigations for alleged corrupt practices, from taking part in the conduct of the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states.
The commission said the action was taken in order to give credibility to the two elections.
Governorship elections are to hold in Edo and Ondo states on September 10 and November 26 respectively.
The commission also said if the affected officers were not cleared even after the two elections must have been held, they would continue to be left out of other electoral assignments.
INEC’s Deputy Director, Publicity and Voter Education, Mr. Nick Dazang, stated this in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday.
The PUNCH had asked Dazang if the over 100 officers, being investigated for alleged bribery by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in connection with bribery allegations during the last general elections, would be deployed for the two elections.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had confirmed the number of the suspects, stating that at the end of the probe, those found guilty would be sacked.
Some resident electoral officers of the commission were alleged to have been bribed by the officials of the Peoples Democratic Party during the general elections.
For example, a former Resident Electoral Commissioner in Rivers State, Mrs. Gesila Khan, and other top INEC officials in the South-South geopolitical zone were alleged to have received N675.1m from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
According to impeccable sources at the EFCC, Khan, who was later deployed as REC in Cross River State, allegedly received N185.8m ahead of the March 28 and April 11, 2015 elections.
The commission also arrested one Oluchi Obi Brown, who was the INEC administrative secretary in Delta State, said to have allegedly received over N111m.
Further investigations by detectives revealed that Brown had about $75,000 in an account in the United States.
The anti-graft agency also arrested one Edem Okon Effanga, who is a retired INEC official. Effanga was arrested alongside his alleged accomplice, Immaculata Asuquo, who was the Head, Voter Education of INEC in Akwa Ibom State.
Effanga was alleged to have received over N240m, which he shared among INEC ad hoc workers during the last elections.
Dazang said those still under investigations would be excluded from the elections in order to give credibility to the polls.
He said, “It is the rule that anyone undergoing investigations for any allegations will not be deployed for any electoral duty.
“We will obey this simple logic. We won’t deploy any of those being investigated for the forthcoming Edo and Ondo governorship elections.
“All those who have questions to answer either from the EFCC or any other security agencies, regarding the roles they played in the last general elections, are to be excused from these elections.
“We need to give the elections credibility. If we don’t do that, Nigerians will query us. Until these officers are cleared, they won’t be deployed for any electoral duty.”
Though the list of invited members of staff INEC kept increasing, Yakubu had said the commission was cooperating with the EFCC, adding that ultimately, members of staff, who were culpable, would “be shown the way out.”