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INEC confirms arrest, release of its officials in Osun

The commission, however, dismissed the rumour that the Electoral Officer (EO) of Obokun Local Government Area (LGA) in Osun State and another official were caught…

The commission, however, dismissed the rumour that the Electoral Officer (EO) of Obokun Local Government Area (LGA) in Osun State and another official were caught diverting sensitive materials.
In a statement issued by the commission signed by the chief press Secretary to the chairman, Kayode Idowu, INEC said its investigation showed that no sensitive materials were diverted, neither was any official of its caught in cohort with political partisans contrary to the reports which suggested that the integrity of the process leading up to the Osun State Governorship Election had been compromised.
According to the statement, the EO of Obokun Local Government had, at some point on Wednesday, discussed and agreed with all stakeholders, including political parties in his LGA, that sensitive and non-sensitive materials would be distributed together once the sensitive materials were received at the INEC LGA office.
INEC explained that “early on Thursday morning, all EOs in Osun State were asked to report in Oshogbo to collect sensitive materials for their respective LGAs, hence the Obokun EO and one of his officers left for the state capital to collect the materials. While they were in Oshogbo, the EO realized that mattresses needed for operating the Registration Area Centres (RACs), which ought to have been delivered at the RACs, had not been distributed. Consequently, he sent back his officer to go and distribute the mattresses to all the RACs.”
The commission noted that the officer assigned to effect the task misinterpreted the instruction and, rather than distribute only the mattresses, began to distribute non-sensitive materials as well contrary to the earlier agreement between the EO and political parties.
“The EO returned to the LGA office around 7pm on Thursday with sensitive materials for his jurisdiction and, on learning that the officer had overreached his instruction, became concerned about the breach of the agreement he had with the political parties and other stakeholders. He immediately ordered the retrieval of the non-sensitive materials from all RACs,” it said.
The commission explained that the bid to retrieve the non-sensitive materials triggered suspicion of something untoward among the communities, some of which resisted the retrieval.
“A number of them alerted security agents, who promptly arrested the EO and the officer who had distributed the non-sensitive materials. The EO and his officer have since been released and they have gone on with their duties, following the Commission’s investigation and satisfactory explanation to the security agencies about the true nature of the incident.
“For avoidance of doubt, sensitive materials were not involved in the incident. Actually, sensitive materials from the State INEC Headquarters arrived at the LGA long after the non-sensitive materials had been distributed,” the statement added.

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