By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner for Oyo State, Barrister Mutiu Agboke on Tuesday declared that majority of the problems faced by INEC during the recently concluded 2019 elections were orchestrated by politicians.
Barrister Agboke stated this while speaking at the symposium put together by the Lanre Oladoyinbo executives of the University of Ibadan, Senior Staff Club entitled “2019 elections: A post Mortem.”
The REC insisted that INEC performed well in the concluded elections as over 200 staff of the commission had so far been dismissed, adding that the commission was ready to defend the results of last 2019 elections conducted in oyo state in court.
“People did not see that majority of the problems INEC faced were orchestrated by political parties. What is the reason for my success in the last elections? I will tell you it is engagement, reengagement and over engagement. if you keep quiet you allow people to suspect you,” he said..
The REC added, “Between 2015 and last week, over two hundred of them (INEC staff) were on interdiction. They were not alive, they were not dead. Just last week, they were recalled because their issues were revisited. There are some that are still in court and over two hundred plus of them were dismissed. “
“How would they (politicians) not come. If you tell them (INEC staff) it is only those that are foolish among them, that will be hobnobbing with them, visiting them, running after them. As a REC, I am the king in my own right. One or few of them made an attempt to bring very huge amount of money but I look at them. I am contented with what I have. The highest level of joy i had was the day I presented the certificate of return to the person that will become the governor tomorrow. With that I have achieved a lot.”
Speaking further, Barrister Agboke stressed that as at the moment, there were 32 election petitions comprising one petition for governorship, four for Senatorial election, 12 House of Representatives and 15 House of Assembly petitions.
“We have 32 election petitions, one governorship 4 senatorial, 12 house of reps and 15 house of assembly. We are going to defend what we did at the tribunal and that is not to say that there were no infractions but I will not agree with you if you say nothing was good about the elections.”
The REC claimed that a few of the political actors approached him with ‘big money’ during the last general elections, saying, “only a foolish INEC staff will be hobnobbing, visiting and running after politicians.”
In his contribution, Professor of Political Science, Professor Bayo Okunade reiterated the need to unbundle INEC and relief it of the many roles it is playing to enhance its performance in line with the Uwais report.
According to Professor Okunade, there was nothing wrong with the infractions which occurred during the polls saying these were not features of political contestations.
The Registrar/Chief Executive Teachers Registration Council, Professor Segun Ajiboye said progress has been made in Nigeria’s conduct of elections and called for the review of the participation of University staff as adhoc staff in future elections.