The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it did not remove the names of Igbo and South South people from the list of ad hoc staff for Saturday’s Governorship and House of Assembly elections in Lagos State.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that rumours making the rounds on social media has it that the electoral umpire in Lagos removed all Igbo and South-South staff from sensitive election duties for March 18 elections.
Reacting, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Lagos State, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, in a statement on Wednesday evening by Mrs Adenike Tadese, Head of Department, Voter Education and Publicity, described the allegations as fake news which should be ignored.
Agbaje said: “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.”
Agbaje said that he did not at any point in time engage in any phone conversation with the “Obidients, Sanwo-Olu and Tinubu”
According to him, in fact, he does not have their telephone numbers.
Agbaje added: “Whoever that has information concerning the day and time of the said telephone conversation should not hesitate to make it public.”
He urged members of the public to shun fake news, misinformation and disinformation and allow INEC in Lagos to focus on the forthcoming elections, in order to achieve the desired results.
“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.