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Former governorship candidate urges INEC to reconsider use of Professors as Returning Officers

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Mr Uche Nwosu, the Governorship Candidates of Action Alliance (AA) in Imo during the 2019 general election, has advised Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reconsider using university lecturers as Returning Officers in states’ elections.

Nwosu disclosed this while speaking with newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said it was high time INEC revert to the use of its senior staff for states’ elections, to protest the integrity of the electoral process.

“I want to say that one of the greatest problems we have in the 2019 general elections was the issue of the professors as returning officers.

“You can imagine one of the professors saying that he wrote election results under duress.

“You have the police, Military, Department of State Services (DSS), sister security agencies and election observers there and you are saying you wrote result under duress, was it the police or army that put your life under duress?

“The issue of bringing in some of these professors to be returning officers, I think we should jettison it and pick core INEC staff who understand that if something happens their jobs is at risk.

“Because these professors feel that if anything happen they can go back to their schools.

“INEC should provide an avenue where its senior officers will be states’ retuning officers rather than depend on professors,’’ he said.

Nwosu, who recently returned to the All Progressives Congress (APC), also called for necessary reforms in the Electoral Act and INEC before the 2023 general elections.

The reforms according to him should include empowering INEC to reject candidates not duly nominated by political parties as well the power to reject suspicious election results.

“INEC needs a lot of reforms. You can imagine INEC monitored the primaries where I won, but it has limited power to compel the party to nominate me, because they say the party has the final say.

“If the power is given to INEC to say that once it monitors primaries, no party can change the result that will make politics easier.

“The issue of party nominating candidate for elections, INEC must be giving the power to insist that whoever wins at primaries, must be the one nominated by the party.

“Again at election proper, there cases where people will disappear with election results and come back with altered results, is not fair,’’ he said.

Nwosu, commenting on report that Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi, has declared that he was a member of both the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and APC, advised him to cross over to the APC.

“Let him come to APC. You cannot be in PDP and be in APC. If he thinks President Muhammadu Buhari is good to him, he should join APC, we will welcome him.

“You cannot be in Okoro family and say you are in Amaka family. For me I will advise him to join APC if he appreciates what Buhari has done,’’ he said.

Edited by: Buhari Bolaji/Ali Baba-Inuwa

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