The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC’s) Officer in Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau, Salihu Musa, has apologized over the “shameful” behavior of the Returning Officer deployed to the area.
Backstory: Musa tendered the apology while responding to a question about why he (Musa), was declaring the results of the elections for Bokkos rather than the Returning Officer, as stipulated by law. He explained to party agents, observers, and INEC officials that the Returning Officer, a university lecturer, was drunk on Sunday and was sacked when he could not perform his duty.
“The Returning Officer’s attitude was appalling; he was drunk and couldn’t do anything at all. I took over the job based on instructions from the INEC headquarters in Jos,” Musa said, while apologizing on behalf of INEC.
Some of the responses afterwards showed just how disruptive the Returning Officer’s conduct was:
“The officer came to the collation center drunk. On Sunday, we waited for his arrival up to 2 p.m., but when he later arrived and took his seat, he started dozing off before the very eyes of everybody in the hall,” said Jonathan Mawuyau, a Collation Officer of the All Progressives Congress, and former justice commissioner in Plateau. “Shortly after, he woke up and excused us to go ease himself, but the next thing we heard was that he had driven away. He was later accosted and brought back.”
Joan Arabs, INEC official from the headquarters in Abuja, assured party agents, journalists and observers, who had gathered at the senatorial collation center in Pankshin, that the mistake would not be repeated. “We have noted this mistake and want to assure you that we will correct it,” she said.