Conduct internal audit before rerun polls, APC tells INEC

The National Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (North-West), Malam Salihu Lukman, on Friday called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to avoid fielding compromised returning officers for the governorship and state assemblies rerun elections.

He also urged the electoral umpire to conduct an internal audit to address noticeable lapses in the last polls, especially in Kebbi and Kano states.

Recall that Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, had told newsmen in Abuja last week that all outstanding governorship, National, and state assembly supplementary elections would be on April 15.

But the APC vice chair disclosed that INEC owed many disappointed Nigerians a duty to get it right by fixing its lapses in terms of manpower audit.

While stating that the commission doesn’t need to continue deploying academics as returning officers, Lukman appealed to INEC not to deploy those who conducted the last elections for the rerun polls.

He said, “We must accept there were some problems which had been recorded. We call on INEC, being the electoral management body, to attend to those problems as quickly as possible.

“I want to use this opportunity to call on INEC that we must, as a matter of urgency, initiate the process of an internal review of how the 2023 elections were managed.

“As part of that review, they must address issues of ethical conduct of their staff (members), including the returning officers. I am a critic of the choice of INEC using academic staff (members) as returning officers.

 I don’t believe being an academic is equivalent to competence in managing public service, such as a returning officer in an election. There are many cases of returning officers being compromised by politicians.”

Lukman, however, condemned the call for the removal of the INEC chairman.

He added, “In fairness to Mahmood, I think the call (for his resignation) is very unfair. What is really the allegation? That the PDP or the Labour Party lost the election?

“I mean, we’ve never had an election that is almost as balanced as the 2023 elections. Buhari lost in Katsina, Asiwaju lost in Lagos, and our national chairman lost in Nasarawa.”

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