The Independent National Electoral Commission says it did not remove the names of Igbos from the list of ad hoc staff for Saturday’s governorship and state assembly elections in Lagos.
INEC’s resident electoral commissioner in Lagos, Olusegun Agbaje, in a statement on Wednesday evening, maintained that claims that he had removed several names of INEC workers of South-East and South-South extractions were fake news and should be ignored.
“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,” the INEC statement explained.
It added, “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 February 25 in Lagos State were 738 in number, bearing in mind that three elections were held.”
The INEC statement mentioned that the Saturday governorship and state assembly polls would 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,” the electoral commission clarified.
In the statement, Mr Agbaje said he did not at any point in time engage in any telephone conversation with the “Obidients, Sanwo-Olu and Tinubu,” stating that he did not have their telephone numbers.
Agbaje added, “Whoever has information concerning the day and time of the said telephone conversation should not hesitate to make it public.”
He urged the public to shun fake news, misinformation and disinformation and allow INEC in Lagos to focus on the forthcoming elections.
“The commission will continue to uphold the fundamental principles of equity, fairness, transparency, credibility and accountability in line with the vision and mission to be a pre-eminent leader in deepening electoral democracy as an unbiased election management body,” he said.
There were allegations on social media that INEC had removed all Igbo and South-South workers from sensitive election duties for the March 18 elections.