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September 28, 2020

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Akwa Ibom said it is set to arraign two university lecturers in the state for election fraud.

The commission told journalists on Tuesday in Uyo that the lecturers, who were collation and returning officers during the 2019 general elections, allegedly “falsified election results aimed at producing outcomes contrary to the will of the people as expressed through the ballot”.

The text of the INEC briefing, signed by Odaro Aisien, the head of Voter Education and Publicity in Akwa Ibom state, did not, however, reveal the identity of the lecturers.

The lecturers had appeared before an investigative panel set up by INEC Headquarters, the statement said.

“The Panel subsequently established a prima facie documentary evidence of deliberate criminal manipulation of election results against the Collation/Returning Officers,” INEC said.

“They will be arraigned in Court accordingly.”

“While the unethical conduct of these lecturers does not represent that of the overall majority who worked diligently and with dignity as Collation Officers in the 2019 General Elections in the State, the Commission believes that every wrongful act that violates and threatens the sanctity of the ballot must be punished,” the statement added.

“This should be a lesson and a clear message to all ad hoc Staff, particularly those that would be engaged as Supervising Presiding Officers (SPOs) and Collation/Returning Officers in future elections in this State as well as other places where the Commission would be conducting elections in the days and months ahead.”

The commission said three of its officials who were allegedly involved in misconduct during the elections have been dismissed.

Mike Igini, the resident electoral commissioner in Akwa Ibom, reputed for his zero tolerance for election fraud, had a fierce battle with powerful politicians who were said to be bent on rigging the 2019 elections in the state.



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