Angry Electoral Officers at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Rivers State, have staged protests.
They kicked against their mass transfer barely one month to the general elections in the country.
The electoral workers claimed that the state Resident Electoral Commissioner REC, Johnson Alalibo Sinikiem, rescinded their areas of operation in the state's 23 local government areas, adding that this was not in the best interest of the state, considering the time.
Officers who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation complained that they were being denied the opportunity to use their experience to improve the credibility of the upcoming election.
They also claimed that the REC replaced them with INEC officials who were not from the state and that Rivers was the only state where people were being replaced with outsiders.
According to them, it is improper to remove officers on levels 14 and 15 and replace them with officers on levels 9 and 10.
The new posting memo, signed by Richter Alabraba, INEC's administrative secretary, assigned the former EOs to audit, stores, and the REC's office, while the REC retained only the EO of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government.
According to one of the EOs, the REC should reconsider the abrupt transfer of EOs in the electorate's best interests, emphasising that experience matters in the outcome of genuine elections.
He said: “This is serious issue that needs to be addressed right now for the coming election to be free, fair and credible in Rivers State. You don’t just wake up one early morning and recall seasoned and experienced Electoral Officers heading different local government areas.
“What is the motive behind this recall to the office just a few weeks to the elections? As I speak with you, there is serious tension in the INEC headquarters of Rivers State.
“Rivers State is the only state in Nigeria where the Electoral Officers and Assistant Electoral Officers are not drawn from the state. This is the only state where the indigenes of the state are marginalised and not allowed to protect the decisions of the electorates.”