…as committee of VCs reiterates commitment to credible elections

he chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Yakubu Mahmood has called on all collation officers for the 2023 elections to be non-partisan and discharge their duties with all sense of commitment to national development.

The chairman made this known at a parley with the committee of vice chancellors of federal universities in Abuja.

According to him, for the various collation and declaration centres, the commission will be drawing the required collation and returning officers from the academic staff of the various federal universities, including the vice chancellors who serve as returning officers for the governorship election and state collation officers for the presidential election.

He pointed out further that, as in previous elections, the commission has requested each university for a specified number and category of academic staff.
“I must warn that staff who are card carrying members or have participated in partisan politics should not be nominated for the exercise. 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”, he said.

Prof. Yakubu said the commission will carefully scrutinise the list of everyone participating in the elections just like all election duty personnel, each collation and returning officer will swear to an oath of neutrality.
“You must note that, collation of results will take place in 8,809 registration areas or wards, 774 local government areas, 36 States and the FCT. In addition, we require 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 suitably academic staff of impeccable integrity who must also understand that this is a call to national service.

“Despite a few challenges, this happy partnership has further enhanced the transparency and credibility of the elections in Nigeria as well as public confidence in the process. The commission wishes to sustain this partnership”, he added.

In her response, the chairman of the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Professor Lilian Imuetinyan Salami reiterated the total commitment of members of the Committee of Vice Chancellors to deliver positively to growth of democracy by discharging their duties.

“This is our commitment to the nation and as persons of integrity and we shall not fail our nation. We promise to play our roles well”, she said.

Similarly, the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA) led by its president, Yakubu Maikyau in a courtesy call on the chairman of the commission also expressed its commitment to stand by the national electoral umpire in the 2023 general elections.