The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC says one of its official in Delta State petitioned over alleged acts Of gross misconduct, betrayal of trust and breach of oath is currently being investigated.
This followed a petition by a law firm, Felix Igelige and Associates, on behalf a socio-political group, Ithihikpe Campaign Organization alleging that the Isoko South Electoral Officer, Mrs. Blessing Suleiman had colluded with the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), in Isoko South local government to manipulate the just concluded Saturday’s presidential and national assembly elections in the area.
According to the INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner in Delta state, Dr. Cyril Omorogbe, in a letter responding to the allegations levelled against the official, if the allegations are found to be true, the needful will be done.
The letter obtained by BIGPEN NIGERIA reads: “While these allegations are yet to be established, the commission will leave no stone unturned to ensure a free, fair, transparent and credible election. We make bold to say that all issues raised are currently being investigated and addressed. Once it is found to be as alleged, the commission will do the needful”.
The petitioners had demanded the removal or redeployment of the said Suleiman over alleged acts Of gross misconduct, betrayal of trust and breach of oath of office prior to the last Saturday’s presidential and national assembly elections.
The petition reads, “We act for and on behalf of the Ithihikpe Campaign Organization (our Client) and it is upon their firm instructions that we forward this petition. Our Client which is an integral part of the Joel-Onowakpo Thomas Campaign Organization has just discovered to their chagrin that one Mrs. blessing Suleiman who was recently posted to Oleh as your Commission’s Electoral Officer for Isoko South local government area of Delta State has been compromised by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
“The above assertion is premised on the partisanship flagrantly displayed by the said Mrs. Suleiman in the selection of INEC Ad-hoc personnel which clearly showed that apart from the current serving Corps Members, over 90% of all other categories of such personnel recruited are known Card carrying and active members of the PDP. For instance, one Oneke Michael who is the current youth leader of the PDP for Oleh Ward 2 has been recruited as Asst. Presiding Officer II for Unit 18 of Oleh Ward 2.
“Furthermore, one Mr. Emmanuel Oneke who is an ex-councillorship candidate under the PDP and currently the Personal Assistant to Mr. Kenneth Ogba a candidate of the PDP for Isoko South Constituency 1 also made the list as an Ad-hoc Staff. Again one Ifoghale Osibi who is PDP Chairman for Unit 12 Oleh Ward 1 has been recruited and is posted as an Assistant Presiding Officer Unit 13.
“The foregoing is the prevailing scenario all over the Isoko South local government and we dare say that this situation if not checked will smear the Commission with filth and rubbish the good effort of the Commission at ensuring free, fair and credible election.
“Even more worrisome to our client is the fact that other non-aligned working civil servants as well as ex-Corps members who applied and who are supposed to be the first line of persons for consideration for recruitment after serving Corp Members, have been deliberately and conspicuously left out of the recruitment net, all in an effort to favour the fortunes of the PDP.
“Our clients and indeed the great majority of the Isoko people have lost faith in Mrs. Suleiman as person who is not capable of delivering a free and fair election for the Commission in Isoko South Local Government Area. In view of the foregoing, we demand that the recent recruitment exercise carried out by Mrs. Suleiman, the Electoral Officer for Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State be cancelled and a fresh one which will remove any form of partisan toga or colouration, be carried out.”