The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has taken decisive action in response to the case of missing ballot papers during the rerun election in Jos North Local Government Area. The Electoral Officer for the area, Fred Ogboji, has been suspended as a precautionary measure pending a thorough investigation into the incident.
Isah Idakwo, the Head of Electoral Operations for INEC, confirmed the suspension in a letter addressed to Ogboji on Sunday. The suspension is intended to facilitate an in-depth inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Federal House of Representatives ballot papers in 16 polling units in Jos North.
As part of the suspension order, Ogboji has been instructed to hand over his duties to Elekwa Onyemauche, the current Local Government Supervisor. This move underscores INEC’s commitment to upholding the integrity of the electoral process and ensuring accountability in cases of irregularities.
The letter issued to Ogboji reads, “You are directed to step aside from the office to enable the Commission to carry out a proper investigation into the circumstances that led to the missing Federal House of Representatives ballot papers in 16 polling units in your Local Government.”
“Further, you are directed to hand over to Barr. Elekwa Onyemauche, the Local Government Supervisor, and the two RA Supervisors of Tudun Wada Kapong and Naraguta B (E.O Shendam and E.O Kanke Local Government Areas, respectively) to coordinate and complete the remaining process.”
INEC had rescheduled elections in the affected 16 polling units in the Jos North/Bassa federal constituency of Plateau due to the missing ballot papers. The election, initially set for a rerun on February 4, was necessitated by the discovery of the missing papers on the eve of the initial rerun.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Oliver Agundu, assured the public that the commission is committed to ensuring voters are not disenfranchised and that appropriate measures will be taken based on the findings of the investigation. The case has already been referred to security agencies for further scrutiny.