—–By Akpos Oghenetega ————
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed November 18, 2017 for the conduct of the Anambra State governorship elections, INEC National Commissioner, Mr Solomon Soyebi, made the announcement on Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
According to INEC timetable for the election released by Mr Soyebi political parties are expected to start conducting their primaries between July 22 and September 2, while campaigns by political parties will start on August 18 and close by November 16.
He said that the 1999 Constitution as amended, and the Electoral Act, had stipulated that the earliest day for the conduct of the election shall be Oct. 18, while the latest date for the election shall be Feb 14, 2018.
He stated further that INEC headquarters have received the report of the Joint Police/DSS Special Investigation Panel on Rivers Re-Run elections of Dec. 10, 2016 and would work with the police in prosecuting the 25 staff indicted for the role they played in the legislative rerun polls of 2016 in Rivers State.
He added that “from the report, we gathered that the police have concluded their investigations and 25 INEC staff who were indicted will be prosecuted. The commission has resolved to co-operate with police in the process.
“In addition and without prejudice to their prosecution, the indicted INEC staff will also face the commission’s internal disciplinary process.
“The commission wishes to reiterate clearly that it will not shield staff that engages in any conduct that will undermine the integrity of the electoral process.’’
Soyebi added that the commission had also considered the report of its Administrative Inquiry into the same election in which 28 staff were indicted of misconduct.
He explained that the commission accepted the report’s recommendations that all the 28 indicted staff should face internal disciplinary action for gross misconduct, dereliction of duty and negligence.
“The commission also accepted the recommendation to commend a number of ad hoc and permanent staff, as well as security officials who performed exceptionally well under very difficult circumstances of the elections,” he said.
Those to be commended were Prof. Ralph Echebiri and Prof. Oji Ekemankama, both of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, who served in Rivers West and East Senatorial Districts respectively.
He added that INEC would also offer automatic employment to two National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members; Aguna Isaac and Ademola Oluwatoba who served as Presiding Officers during the election.
He said that the decision was to reward them for their professional conduct during the election.
He noted that arising from the lessons learnt, the commission would carry out a major overhaul of its entire Rivers office.