The Oyo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mutiu Agboke, on Wednesday revealed that over 200 staff members of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have been dismissed for various electoral offences in the state.
The REC who admitted that there were problems during the last general elections in the state, declared that the majority of them were orchestrated by politicians.
Agboke spoke at the symposium put together by the Lanre Oladoyinbo-led executives of the Senior Staff Club of the University of Ibadan, titled, “2019 elections: A post Mortem”.
According to him, no fewer than 200 employees of the commission were dismissed for various electoral offences.
He noted that arising from the last polls, there were 32 election petitions comprising one petition for governorship, four for senatorial election, 12 House of Representatives and 15 for the House of Assembly.
Agboke, who claimed that a few political actors approached him with ‘big money’, however noted that only a foolish INEC employee would hobnob and run after politicians.
“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. People did not see that the 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. 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 a very huge amount of money but I looked at them. I am content 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. We have 32 election petitions, one governorship, 4 senatorial, 12 House of Representatives 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,” Agboke said.
In his contribution, a professor of Political Science, Bayo Okunade, stressed the need to unbundle INEC and relieve it of the many roles it is playing, to enhance its performance in line with the Justice Mohammed Uwais report.
The Registrar/Chief Executive, Teachers Registration Council, Segun Ajiboye, also noted that progress had been made in Nigeria’s conduct of elections and called for the review of the participation of university employees as ad hoc staff in future elections.