Minister of Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, on Monday absolved the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of culpability over certain irregularities experienced during Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections.
He said the involvement of non-permanent staff of the commission makes it impossible for electoral irregularities not to be witnessed in any election.
Fielding questions from journalists at the INEC collation centre in Awka, the Minister attributed most of the problems to the ad-hoc staff recruited for the exercise.
He said: “You see when we talk about INEC, I like to be fair to them. INEC has both permanent and ad-hoc staff.
“Lots of these problems emanate from the ad-hoc staff and you know they don’t owe deep loyalty to the commission.
“Government has tried to find a way around it by insisting they use federal government civil servants and lecturers in federal universities.
“So if these ones misbehave, they can be punished according to civil service rules.”
Ngige however canvassed early training for the ad-hoc staff and continuous training for the permanent ones as a way of mitigating the challenge.
On the Presidential results so far released by the INEC, the Minister said he was not surprised at the outcome, expressing confidence that President Buhari would be re-elected.
“What else do you expect? We’re expecting to clear more states, especially those with big votes,” he asserted.
He however asked those who eventually emerge winners to be magnanimous with victory while those that lost should accept defeat in good faith.
He said: “We expect that as a game, those who lost will try next time and for those who win to be magnanimous with victory.”