By G9ija

The Independent National Electoral Commission says it will not redeploy the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Lagos State, Segun Agbaje, over unfounded allegations.

The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said this in an interview with newsmen.

Oyekanmi, who spoke on Wednesday in Abuja, urged those demanding Agbaje’s redeployment to perish the thought.

There have been demands for Agbaje’s removal over the alleged mismanagement of Permanent Voters’ Cards collection in some parts of Lagos and engagement of the Musiliu Akinsanya-led Lagos State Parks Management Committee to convey election materials.

Oyekanmi implored the two political parties calling for Agbaje’s redeployment to respect the boundaries of the relationship between the commission and all political parties.

He dismissed the allegations against the REC, describing it as deliberate misinformation and distortion of facts.

He said: “Let me make one thing clear upfront: Mr. Agbaje will not be removed as the REC for Lagos over unfounded allegations.

“He will not only conduct the Presidential/National Assembly elections scheduled for February 25, he will also superintend over the Governorship/State House of Assembly elections holding on 11th March.

“He is a conscientious, honest, dependable and hardworking REC.

“His integrity speaks for him in all the places where he had served.

“Let me break this down for you: During the recent Continuous Voter Registration that took place between June 2021 and July 2022, Lagos State under Agbaje registered the highest number of voters in the country: 585,629.

“On January 27 this year, we announced that out of the 940,200 PVCs delivered to Lagos State as of that date, 839,720 PVCs, representing 89.3 per cent, had been collected.

“This debunks the allegation that the Lagos REC deliberately withheld the PVCs belonging to persons from a particular region of the country.”

On the movement of election materials in Lagos State, Oyekanmi said that INEC was engaging individual vehicle owners.

He said: “The unions don’t have vehicles and even if they have some, they cannot possibly provide the number of vehicles that the commission requires to conduct the general election.

“Rather, the unions are made up of individuals that own vehicles.

“You then have to negotiate with the vehicle owners and join the unions as witnesses and for accountability purposes.”

Oyekanmi reminded Nigerians that INEC had been conducting elections successfully in Lagos using individuals that own vehicles that met its specification.

He assured Lagosians and those who intend to vote in Lagos State that their votes will count.