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Aggrieved INEC Rivers EOs Protest Mass Transfer And Being Replaced By Non Indigenes

Electoral Officers at the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Rivers state have reacted angrily over their transfer out of their posts at the 23 local government areas of the state by Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Johnson Alalibo Sinikiem.

Some of the aggrieved EOs, claimed that their transfer from their positions barely a month to the forthcoming general elections, was not in the best interest of the state. The officers who pleaded anonymity for fear of victimization complained that they are being denied the opportunity to use their experience to make the coming election more credible.

They also claimed that the REC replaced them with INEC officials that are not from the state, and that Rivers is the only state whose people are being replaced by non Indigenes. According to them, as officers on levels 14 and 15, it is improper to remove them from their positions and replace them with officers on level 9 and 10.According to them, The new posting memo, signed by Richter Alabraba, the administrative secretary of INEC, posted the former EOs to the audit, stores and to the REC’s office, while only the EO of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government was retained his position by the REC.

According to one of the EOs, there was need for the REC to reconsider the sudden transfer of EOs in the best interest of the electorate, stressing that experience counts in the outcome of genuine elections.

He said: “This is serious issue that needs to be addressed right now for the coming election to be free, fair and credible in Rivers State. You don’t jus wake up one early morning and recall seasoned and experienced Electoral Officers heading different local government areas.

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“What is the motive behind this recall to the office just a few weeks to the elections. As I speak with you, there is serious tension in the INEC headquarters of Rivers State. “Rivers State is the only state in Nigeria where the Electoral Officers and Assistant Electoral Officers are not drawn from the state. This is the only state where the indigenes of the state are marginalized and not allowed to protect the decisions of the electorates.

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In his reaction, the Rivers REC, explained that there was nothing wrong with the transfer of the EOs saying it was purely an administrative procedure.

He said if the aggrieved EOs did not come to the press to make a complaint when they were posted there earlier, then they have no justification to complain now.

“When they posted them to the Local Government Areas, did it come to the press? Administratively, they can be moved to other positions. That is all I can say about that”, the REC stated.

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