INEC wary about universities nominating ex-convicts, partisan lecturers as collation, returning officers

INEC Chair Mahmood Yakubu in meeting with VCs of universitiesThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will not accept the nomination of university lecturers who are card-carrying members, have participated in partisan politics or have been convicted of electoral malpractice as returning and state collation officers in the February 25 and March 11 elections.

INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this in Abuja at a meeting with vice-chancellors of Nigerian universities.

Mr. Yakubu said the collation of results for the elections would take place in 8,809 registration areas or wards, 774 local government areas, 36 states and the FCT that required returning officers for each constituency.

“Put together, we will engage 23,258 personnel as collation and returning officers. It is for this reason that this meeting is crucial. We need the support of our universities to source the requisite number of the suitable academic staff of impeccable integrity who must also understand that this is a call to national service,” Mr Yakubu explained. “As in previous elections, we have requested each university for a specified number and category of academic staff, as contained in my letter to the vice-chancellors.”

The INEC boss added, “I must warn that staff who are card-carrying members or have participated in partisan politics should not be nominated. Similarly, those who may not be involved in partisan politics but are known to have obvious political leanings should not be nominated. Furthermore, those who have been convicted of electoral malpractice must be excluded.”

Mr Yakubu said INEC would carefully scrutinise the list, which must be submitted confidentially in the manner the commission prescribes in his letter to the vice-chancellors.

“Like all election duty personnel, each collation and returning officer will swear to an oath of neutrality,” he noted.