Kwara State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mallam Garba Attahiru, has said some of his colleagues, as well as some staff of the Independent National electoral Commission (INEC) are corrupt.
He spoke against the backdrop of the just-concluded 2019 polls.
At an interactive session with newsmen, after the wedding fathia of his daughter in Minna, Niger State, at the weekend, Mallam Attahiru revealed how some top traditional rulers in Kwara exerted so much pressure on him; to compromise the recently-concluded elections in the state.
He said: “There were pressures from some highly-placed politicians and some traditional rulers in the state, for me to compromise the election, but, I stood my ground. I told them that it will not work here in Ilorin (the state capital).”
The REC said that he was tempted with huge sums of money by these politicians “but, I told them that there is no amount of money that can buy me. I swore by my Qu’ran, that I will not sell my integrity for money. I told them that I am ready to stake my life to conduct a credible elections in the state, more so that Kwara was in the eyes of the world. I had to do some madness to be able to achieve what I achieved.”
Mallam Attahiru admitted that there are some corrupt INEC staff, who, because of their greed, have continued to tarnish the image of the organisation, and stressed that, contrary to public opinion, “INEC is the most organised institution in the country, today, it is now left to you to use your initiatives
“I agree that some Resident Electoral Commissioners are corrupt, but, they failed to understand that integrity pays. Honestly I am not comfortable with what is happening in some other states. Some RECs lack the courage to do what is expected of them and that is really rubbing off on their integrity.”
Attahiru however exonerated INEC from any blame over the number of cases pending before election petition tribunals across the country, and said that 80 percent of the cases “are pre-election cases which has nothing to do with the conduct of election.”
He blamed political parties for lacking internal democracy, which has resulted in the number of cases before the election petition tribunals.
“The number of cases before the tribunals has nothing to do with the ability of INEC conduct free and credible election.
“Most of the cases, about 80 percent of them, are pre-election cases. This is because our political parties lack internal democracy. The imposition of candidates by political parties is quite worrisome and that is why we have this number of pre-election cases.
The INEC boss, however, revealed that the November 18, 2018 by-election in the state adequately prepared him for the 2019 general election.
“After the by-election, which was my major test, I decided to buy the loyalty of my staff in the state by making sure I gave them their entitlements. Because of that, I was able have their loyalty and they were able to live up to expectations and we weathered the storm.”
In addition to this, he pointed out that he decided to make things open to all the political parties in the state, things that some corrupt INEC staff hitherto kept away from them were shown to all the parties.
“I assured all the political parties that I am for everyone. Everything that some corrupt INEC used to manipulate were made open and that, alone, made things very easy for me and my staff.”