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Edo/Ondo Polls:INEC chairman vows to punish electoral officers engaging in corrupt practices

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Ignatius Okorocha, Abuja

Ahead of the Edo and Ondo elections, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has warned that the commission would not tolerate unethical and current practices from electoral officers, saying those engaged in such acts will be made to face the full weight of the law.

He spoke on Monday through the chairman of the Board of The Electoral Institute, Prof. Abdullahi Abdu Zuru, at the annual lecture organized by the Electoral Institute TEI, with the theme: “Achieving Professionalism among Election Personnel through Effective Training in Preparation for Edo and Ondo off-cycle Governorship Elections”

According to the INEC boss, the success of any election largely depends on the professionalism and competence of those responsible for conducting it, adding that it is important that personnel responsible for the conduct of these elections are knowledgeable, skilled, and well-equipped with relevant competencies to handle the complexities and challenges of the electoral process.

He stressed the need for a high sense of professionalism amongst Election personnel engendered by effective training because of the crucial role election personnel play in upholding the integrity of the democratic processes.

He explained that how the Electoral Officers discharge their duties and responsibilities affects the degree of confidence voters will have in the electoral process, impacting their participation and turnout.

He said: “To ensure the credibility and trustworthiness in our elections and build trust among the electorates, we must prioritize the professional development of our election personnel

“Consequently, the Commission has always demanded that all Election Officials should be punctual, courteous, polite, and helpful at all times. Voters are the masters and should be treated equally, decently, and with utmost respect.

“Unethical and corrupt practices by election officials will not be tolerated and shall incur severe punishment under the law. For these reasons, all election officials should be guided by a high sense of Integrity; Impartiality; Transparency; Professionalism; Gender and Disability Sensitivity; and due consideration and support for the elderly, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and persons living with disabilities (PWDs).”

Continuing he said,”Effective and Efficient Electoral Training is the key to unlocking professionalism among election personnel. Hence, the Commission is unequivocal in its drive to equip its staff cum trainers with the knowledge, skills, and ethical standards required to excel in their roles by investing in comprehensive and interactive training programs as well as exploring possible collaboration with development partners to achieve best practices in electoral training.

“Through training, the Commission is able to deepen electoral knowledge and strengthen the skills and competencies of personnel over time, build a pool of professional and efficient trainers/facilitators that is responsive to the training needs of commission staff and other electoral stakeholders.

“Develop a structured approach that engenders decentralized service delivery for effective training programmes, broaden the understanding of the role of Commission staff, enabling them to contribute meaningfully to the goal of achieving free, fair, credible, and inclusive elections.

“Explore the modalities of global best practices with regard to the engagement and training of electoral personnel in the most efficient and cost-effective manner, develop effective monitoring and evaluation processes that will enhance the assessment of training impact.”

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