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Edo, Ondo Gubers: INEC Chairman Hands Down Stern Warning To Electoral Officers Over Sharp Practices

Lucky Obukohwo, Reporting

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, has handed down stern warnings to the electoral officers that would oversee the forthcoming Edo and Ondo states governorship elections respectively.

He warned them against unethical practices during the polls.

Yakubu, who handed down the warning in his remarks at the annual lecture organised by The Electoral Institute (TEI), in Abuja, said those found wanting in such acts will be made to face the full wrath of the law.

Represented by the Chairman of the Institute, Abdullahi Abdu Zuru, Yakubu who spoke on the theme: “Achieving professionalism among election personnel through effective training in preparation for the Edo and Ondo off-cycle governorship elections”emphasised that the success of any election largely depends on the professionalism and competence of those responsible for conducting it.

He emphasized the importance of personnel responsible for the conduct of the elections to be knowledgeable, skilled, and well-equipped with relevant competencies to handle the complexities and challenges of the electoral process.

Yakubu argued that how electoral officers discharge their duties and responsibilities affects the degree of confidence voters will have in the electoral process, impacting their participation and turnout.

“To ensure the credibility and trustworthiness in our elections and build trust among the electorate, we must prioritise the professional development of our election personnel.

“Consequently, the commission has always demanded that all election officials should be punctual, courteous, polite, and helpful at all times. Voters are the masters and should be treated equally, decently, and with utmost respect.

“Unethical and corrupt practices by election officials will not be tolerated and shall incur severe punishments under the law. For these reasons, all election officials should be guided by a high sense of integrity, impartiality, transparency, professionalism, gender and disability sensitivity, due consideration and support for the elderly, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs).

“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 programmes, as well as exploring possible collaboration with development partners to achieve best practices in electoral training.

“Through training, the commission is able to deepen electoral knowledge and strengthen the skills and competencies of personnel over time, build a pool of professional and efficient trainers/facilitators that is responsive to the training needs of the commission staff and other electoral stakeholders”, Mahmood said.

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