Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Yakub Mahmud has assured that the forthcoming re-run elections in Rivers State will be free and fair.
He spoke with State House correspondents at the end of swearing in ceremony for six commissioners at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The commission, he said, will not be distracted by the ongoing allegations.
According to him, the commission will carry out its assignment in the state to the best of its ability.
“INEC is poised to consolidate on the achievements of the 2016 elections. We wouldn’t be distracted by the allegations, we’d do what we have always done to the best of our ability bearing in mind that we have a responsibility to the Nigerian nation.
“We would go to Rivers, conduct free, fair and credible elections, declare winners and leave the next level to the judiciary.
“However, there is nothing new that we are going to do in Rivers beyond what we’ve always done?. Votes must count because ultimately it is the people of Rivers that will determine who will become their senators, members of the house of Representatives and the members of the state assembly.
“We want to pledge to Nigerians that we will never shirk in that responsibilities. We’ll continue to discharge our responsibilities according to the law and the constitution of this country.” He said
He denied the allegations that names of All Progressives Congress (APC) members have been selected to serve as INEC returning officers ?for the Rivers elections.
He said: “We have heard this allegations before. ?Election after election there are allegations that we compromise the recruitment of adhoc staff for the elections and in the recruitment of National Returning Officers, there is nothing like that. The standard practice is to recruit adhoc staff from the NYSC and where there is a shortfall we recruit from federal tertiary institutions.
“And for Rivers there was a list from the University of Port Harcourt to make up for the shortfall in adhoc staff. We would continue to discharge our responsibilities, we won’t be distracted and INEC will never join issues with partisan politicians.” He said
He was optimistic that the new commissioners are coming on board to add value to the commission.