Operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) have harassed the Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Anambra State, Dr Nwachukwu Orji, ahead of the state governorship election on November 6.
It was learnt that the DSS operatives also picked up the INEC data entry workers over what they called a petition against the commission.
It was gathered that the petition followed the refusal of the INEC REC to recruit all the Supervisory Polling Officers for the elections from Imo and Ebonyi states.
INEC, it was further learnt, rejected all 72 Supervisory Polling Officers because it had not used its staff members for such roles since 2010.
SaharaReporters was told that the governor of Imo, Hope Uzodinma, and his Ebonyi State counterpart, Dave Umahi, mobilised the officers to take up the roles.
A top source said, “The DSS said the petition came from the refusal of INEC REC to accept 72 supervisory polling officers. They harassed the REC and picked up the data entry staff. INEC rejected the supervisors because they have not used their staff members for such roles since 2010.
“They wanted the REC to recruit all the Supervisory Polling Officers for the elections from Imo and Ebonyi but INEC rejected the 72.
“But the Imo and Ebonyi governors mobilised them to take up those roles. Also, an attempt to bring ad hoc staff members from Rivers is an issue; hence, the attempt to change the recruited staff members.
“Anambra has over 5,274 polling units and it is becoming hard for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to rig. INEC Chairman is meeting the DSS Director-General, as we speak, over the issue.”
INEC had earlier on Thursday stated that the level of preparation ahead of the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State was commendable.
This was disclosed by INEC’s commissioner for information and voter education, Festus Okoye, who stressed that only two out of 14 activities on the election timetable had yet to be implemented.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) held its regular weekly meeting today Thursday 21st October 2021 and deliberated on the Anambra State Governorship Election holding on Saturday 6th November 2021,” a statement by INEC read.
“So far, the Commission has successfully implemented 12 out of 14 activities in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities.
“The Commission has today published the Notice of Poll at its State and all the Local Government offices in Anambra State. By Section 46 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the Commission shall, not later than 14 days before the day of the election, cause to be published, a notice specifying the date and hours fixed for the poll; the persons entitled to vote, and the location of the polling units.”
“In the same vein, today is the last day for the submission of names of Polling Agents by political parties. By Section 45 of the Electoral Act, each political party may by notice in writing addressed to the Electoral Officer of the Local Government, appoint a polling agent for each polling unit and collation centre,” INEC said.
“The notice shall set out the name and address of the polling agent, accompanied by two passport photographs of each polling agent, and sample signature of the agent at least 14 days before the date fixed for the election.
“Political parties are strongly advised to adhere strictly to the law and the guidelines for the deployment of polling agents. Only duly accredited polling agents will be allowed to operate at the polling units and collation centres.
“The commission is satisfied with the current level of preparations. Virtually all non-sensitive materials have been delivered in readiness for the election. The training of ad-hoc staff is also going on as scheduled.”