The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has denied social media reports that the Commission has removed the names of Igbo and South South people from the list of ad hoc staff for the March 18th Governorship and House of Assembly elections in Lagos State.
A Twitter user had on Wednesday alleged that INEC excluded staff from the geopolitical zones from sensitive election duty ahead of the March 18 poll.
“They did not give any reason, but it was said that the INEC leadership which takes directives from the Tinubu political group said they do not trust the Igbo/SS staff to do as they will want them to do at the election.
“INEC is supposed to be a neutral federal agency, but they have been badly compromised beyond recognition”, the tweets read.
Reacting in a statement signed by Tadese Adenike, HOD, voter education and publicity in Lagos, the commission said it read the allegation on social media with “great surprise”.
INEC said while 738 ad-hoc staff (collation officers) were engaged during the national elections, the forthcoming governorship and house of assembly will only require the services of 427 collation officers because only two elections are involved.
“INEC, Lagos State, read with great surprise and concern on the social media in respect of the removal of all Igbos and South-South staff in Lagos State from participating as ad hoc staff in the state during the forthcoming Governorship and House of Assembly elections on March 18.
“It has become imperative to correct the erroneous accusations in some quarters and put the record straight that the Ad hoc staff (Collation Officers) engaged during the Presidential and National Assembly Elections on Feb. 25 in Lagos State were 738 in number, bearing in mind that three elections )were held.
“The forthcoming Governorship and House of Assembly will only require the services of 427 Collation Officers because only two elections are involved.
“It is pertinent to state unequivocally that members of staff that are Igbos were all returned to work as Collation Officers in the forthcoming elections while SPOs (Supervisory Presiding Officers) maintained their positions”, said Adenike.
INEC said it was equally alleged that Olusegun Agbaje, INEC REC in Lagos, was in cahoots with some political actors to rig the gubernatorial election in the state.
“Whoever has information concerning the day and time of the said telephone conversation should not hesitate to make it public,” the statement reads.
“Going by the above frivolous allegations, it is obvious that the orchestrated stories were fabricated to impugn INEC and taint the reputation of Mr Olusegun Agbaje MFR, mni the honourable resident commissioner INEC Lagos state.
“Without mincing words, Mr Olusegun Agbaje MFR, mni is a man of integrity, sincerity, fully committed and dedicated to the service of the commission and the entire citizens of Nigeria irrespective of ethnicity or political affiliation.
“The public should shun fake news, misinformation and disinformation and allow INEC in Lagos state focus on the forthcoming election in order to achieve the desired result”, the statement added.