Unethical, corrupt practices by Election Officials in Edo and Ondo States Governorship Elections will incure severe punishments- INEC Chairman warns

Oru Leonard 

The Hon. Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has vowed to take strict action against any election official involved in unethical and corrupt practices during the upcoming Edo and Ondo States governorship elections set for September and November 2024.

He issued this stern warning at the annual memorial lecture organized by The Electoral Institute (TEI) in honour of the late Director General of the Institute, Prof. Abubakar Momoh. The event took place at the TEI auditorium, Abuja on Monday, 10th June 2024.

The Hon. Chairman INEC, Prof. Yakubu who was represented by the Chairman of the Board of the TEI, Prof. Abdullahi Abdu Zuru, cautioned that unethical and corrupt practices by election officials would not be tolerated in the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States.

He noted that the theme of this year’s memorial lecture, “Achieving Professionalism among Election Personnel through Effective Training in preparation for Edo and Ondo Off-Cycle Governorship Elections” was particularly timely, given that the elections scheduled for 21st September and 16th November, 2024 respectively are just around the corner.

The Hon. Chairman emphasized that to ensure the credibility and trustworthiness of the electoral process and build trust among the electorate, it is essential to prioritize the professionalism of election officials through effective training.

He noted, “Effective and efficient electoral training is the key to unlocking professionalism among election personnel, hence; the Commission is unequivocal in its drive to equip its Staff cum trainers with the knowledge, skills, and ethical standards required to excel in their roles by investing in comprehensive and interactive training programs as well as exploring possible collaboration with development partners to achieve the best practices in electoral training.”

The INEC Chairman also emphasized the Commission’s consistent expectation that election officials should be punctual, courteous, polite, and helpful at all times, underscoring that “Voters are the masters and should be treated equally, decently and with the utmost respect.”

To that effect, Prof. Yakubu warned “Unethical and corrupt practices by election officials will not be tolerated and shall incur severe punishments under the law.”

Furthermore, the Hon. Chairman, INEC stressed that election officials should be guided by principles of integrity, impartiality, transparency and professionalism. They should also be sensitive to gender and disability issues and give due consideration to the elderly, pregnant women, nursing mothers and Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Director General (DG) of TEI, Dr. Sa’ad Umar Idris highlighted the Commission’s efforts to enhance the capacity and competencies of its personnel.

Through the Electoral Institute, the Commission has continued to develop programmes, including technologically driven learning platforms to make training and learning easier and more effective. He listed several programmes aimed at enhancing training, including the development of e-training platforms such as the INEC e-school, the creation of Training BOT- an interactive online tutor, the Electoral Training Study Cycle (ETSC) and the Certified Trainers’ Course (CTC).

Other programmes the DG mentioned include – Election Training for Election Personnel, Technical Training for Electoral Officers (EOs), Assistant Electoral Officers (AEOs)and other staff of the Commission including the BRIDGE (Ttf) Building Resources in Democracy, Governance, and Election and training the facilitator Programme.

Dr. Idris attributed the successes achieved by INEC in recent elections including the 2023 general election to the investments made in enhancing the capacities of INEC trainers, noting that this was a step in the right direction.

He stressed that the forthcoming elections in Edo and Ondo States present a significant opportunity to demonstrate the Commission’s commitment to conducting free, fair, credible, and inclusive elections.

(INEC Media)

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