Denies alleged fraud in recruitment
POLITICAL parties in the country were Wednesday blamed for conducting primary elections almost simultaneously without considering that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which has the mandate to oversee such exercise, would be unable to do so because of the number of constituencies to be covered by the commission.
Meanwhile, INEC has faulted media reports (not by The Guardian) that the ongoing recruitment was being skewed in favour of candidates sponsored by high-heeled Nigerians to the detriment of the less-privileged ones.
This was stated by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, who was represented by his Special Assistant, Prof. Muhammad Juma Kuna, at the opening ceremony of the National Conference on Perspectives on Election and Challenges for Democracy in Nigeria, organised by the Department of Political Science, Bayero University, Kano.
Jega noted that political parties were aware that the electoral body does not have enough workers to monitor all parties’ primaries, so the parties seized the advantage of that inadequacy of staff to conduct primaries in ways that were mostly irregular and unorganised.
The INEC chairman, who was the keynote speaker at the event, also noted with dismay how contradicting court judgments sent to INEC were posing great threat to election process in the country.
He, therefore, called for a crosscheck and redefinition of the legal frameworks pertaining to elections in the country, adding that, “issuance of different court orders on same case or cases would not augur well for democracy in the country.”
Jega called on the government at all levels to seriously address the lingering issues of poverty and hunger, so as to eliminate moneybag politics in the polity. The electorate, according to the INEC boss, collect money from those seeking political offices, simply because they are in deep poverty and hunger.
On e-voting, he warned that the technology has its limitations, urging people to bear in mind that e-voting, as experienced in countries like India, has its peculiar problems. Jega charged Nigerians to know that it is necessary to do away with the culture of impunity.
Media report alleged that virtually all job applicants already slated for the ongoing recruitment exercise of middle level cadres were sponsored by national electoral commissioners, resident electoral commissioners, administrative secretaries and members of the National Assembly.
But Jega, who spoke to The Guardian through his media aide, Mr. Kayode Idowu, dismissed the allegations, saying that there was no iota of truth in the story. According to him, “it is the most fictional thing that I have ever seen. I will tell you why: do you know that because of the credibility that INEC wants that exercise to have, the commission took a decision on its own?
“There was no pressure from anywhere because we have only 1,500 slots and over 800,000 people applied. So INEC now took a decision on their own that no relation of any official of the commission of this exercise, at least, would be considered, whether you are qualified or not, whether you are the best or not.”
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