The Chairman, Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, Hon. Justice Ayotunde Phillips, has charged Electoral Officers of the Commission deployed to the 57 Local Governments / Local Council Development Areas of the State to be fair, transparent, professional and with the fear of God in the discharge of their duties as election managers during the Saturday, July 22, 2017 Local Government elections in the State..
Hon. Justice Phillips gave the charge while addressing the Electoral Officers during a meeting held at the Yaba, Lagos office of the Commission..
The Chairman reiterated the commitment of the Commission to free, fear and credible elections into the 57 Local Governments / Local Council Development Areas of the State, stressing that she did not, therefore, expect any Electoral Officer to manipulate the electoral process to cheat or favour any political party or candidate..
She further pointed out that as a leading State Independent Electoral Commission in the country, the Commission has the responsibility of dictating the pace and showing others the right way of conducting elections, noting however, that “the only way to do this is to exhibit the fear of God and do what is right”..
While noting that she was not unaware of the fact that politicians would want to tempt the Electoral Officers with “offers “ to do their ( politicians’) bidding, Hon. Justice Phillips added that the politicians would only use whoever agreed to their bidding and later dump them after achieving their objectives..
She, therefore, reminded the Officers that as Public Servants many of them still had a long way to go and must not allow anybody to lure them into actions that could truncate their career in the Public Service..
The Chairman also assured the Officers that the Commission would pay them all allowances due to them and would not deprive anybody of their legitimate entitlements, warning, however, that she would not hesitate to let the full weight of the law descend on anybody who might attempt to sabotage the efforts of the Commission to conduct free, fair and credible elections into the 57 Local Governments/ Local Council Development Areas of the State..
In a related development, the Chairman has also stated that the recent redeployment of some of the Electoral Officers was not intended to punish anybody, but to address some administrative needs..
She appealed to affected Electoral Officers to ensure that they prepare their handing over notes which would guide their successors and ensure a seamless transition..
The Guidelines also spelt out the code of conduct for political parties and their candidates for the electioneering campaigns. Political parties and their candidates are required to refrain from the use of abusive language, avoid of forms of bribery and inducement of voters, focus their campaigns on their party manifestos and programmes and avoid basing their campaigns on sectional, ethnic and religious sentiments or prejudice among others..