INEC must punish corrupt staff, says don
A senior Law lecturer at the University of Hull, United Kingdom, Dr Lateef Misbau, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to identify and punish its officials found to have erred in the conduct of the last July 16 Osun governorship poll.
Alamu, an indigene of Ifon Orolu in Osun State during an exclusive interview with on Monday, also said the commission should be held responsible over the decision of the Election Petition Tribunal that annulled the outcome of the poll.
Justice Tertsea Kume-led panel had annulled the victory of Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party and declared Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress as the winner of the poll, after deducting over-voting discovered in 744 units spread across 10 local government areas of the state.
There was however a dissenting judgement by a member of the panel, Justice A. Ogbuli, who dismissed Oyetola’s petition, saying the BVAS report on which the majority judgement was based was a product of controversies.
But the university don, who specifically noted that delayed sychronisation mentioned by INEC as the reason for issuing two BVAS reports for the Osun governorship poll, was alien to the Electoral Act, also said there should be probe into the manipulation of BVAS reports with a view to identify and punish those staff of the Commission involved.
He further said, “INEC must be held for what is now a case of a clear compromise in Osun. INEC issuing multiple BVAS reports and at different times clearly cast aspersions on the integrity of the electoral process. It is now clearer that while BVAS itself may not be defective as a device, there might be unscrupulous officials willing to subvert the process in collusion with dubious politicians.
“So, INEC owes the public some explanation and apologies. Above all, whoever is found complicit for manipulating the BVAS reports must be identified and prosecuted.
For example, whoever came up with the idea of synchronisation in Osun must be sanctioned. There is nothing whatsoever like synchronisation under the Electoral Act and the Electoral Guidelines.”
Asked if BVAS machines should not be used in the conduct of the 2023 general elections, Misbau said since the use of BVAS had been made mandatory by the law, it may be too late to stop its deployment for the poll.
“In fact, I don’t think BVAS should be cancelled. The problem isn’t the BVAS. The problem is the corrupt officials who may compromise the system. This is why it is always important to apply the laws against erring officials in order to serve as deterrence for others,” he concluded