By Nathaniel Gana
4th November 2022
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has tasked the 19 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to remain transparent, non-partisan, firm, and courageous in the discharge of their duties.
Addressing the new and returning members of the INEC family at the Commission’s headquarters on Thursday, 3rd November 2022, Prof. Yakubu said the RECs owed nothing to any individual but owed the Nigerian people everything. He insisted that the Commission must continue to ensure that the choices made by the Nigerian people on Election Day prevailed because “it is their decision.”
He said: “As I welcome you to the Commission, I urge you to settle in quickly and familiarise yourselves with the demands of your new responsibilities, always bearing in mind our commitment to free, fair, credible, transparent, and verifiable elections.
“With exactly 113 days until the 2023 General Election, we are aware that the task ahead of us is not easy, but we must never disappoint Nigerians. Our loyalty is to Nigeria, and our allegiance is to Nigerians. Only their votes should determine winners in the 2023 General Election. Nothing more, nothing less. There should be no deviation from this path of honour and integrity.
“We are only administering the process on trust, supported by technology. On this note, let me once again emphasise that the only means of voter accreditation during the 2023 General Election is the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), while results will be uploaded to the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV) in real-time on Election Day as provided by law.”
He continued: “Over the years, the Commission has worked tirelessly to reform the electoral process and introduce many innovations that are generally acknowledged to have improved the electoral process. In doing so, we will continue to acknowledge the sacrifice and dedication of our hardworking staff. As you are deployed to the states of the Federation, you will be responsible for human and material resources. Work with the staff and be guided by the provisions of the law and our various Regulations and Guidelines”.
The INEC Chairman further implored the RECs to uphold the tenets of neutrality and avoid fraternising with politicians. His words: “you will also interact with various stakeholders. You should maintain the established practise of consulting with them. However, in dealing with the general public, you should be guided by the provisions of the Commission’s Code of Conduct. You should not be visitors to Government Houses and must never hold unofficial meetings with politicians, even after official working hours. All matters pertaining to official responsibilities should be conducted in the office, attended by the relevant staff, and properly documented This is your best protection against mischief. Do not compromise the neutrality of the Commission or create the perception of partisanship.”.
He announced the postings of new RECs, saying, “in line with the Commission’s current practice, Resident Electoral Commissioners are deployed to States within their geo-political zones. However, no one will serve in his/her State of origin throughout your tenure”.
The postings announced by Prof. Yakubu were: Prof. Uzochukwu I. Chijioke (Abia state); Barr. Nuhu Yunusa (Adamawa state); Mrs Queen Elizabeth Agu (Anambra state); Mohammed Bulama Nura (Bauchi state); Prof. Samuel G. Egwu (Benue state); Yomere Gabriel Oritsemolebi (Cross River state); Onyeka Pauline Ugochi (Ebonyi state); and Obo O. Effanga (Edo state)
Others include Prof. Ayobami Salami (Ekiti state); Umar Ibrahim (Gombe state); Prof. Sylvia Uchenna Agu (Imo state); Prof. Muhammad L. Bashar (Jigawa state); Amb. Abdu Abdussamadu Zango (Kano state;) Prof. Yahaya Makarfi Ibrahim (Katsina state); and Ahmed Yushau Garki (Niger state); Dr Agboke Mutiu Olaleke (Osun state); Dr. Agundu Oliver Tersoo (Plateau state); Dr Nura Ali (Sokoto state;) and Ibrahim Abdullahi (Yobe state.)
Prof. Yakubu also announced the redeployment of four serving RECs as follows; Dr Adediran Rahmon Tella, who is currently serving in Ekiti state, has been moved to Oyo state; Dr Johnson Alalibo Sinikiem, currently REC in Cross River state, now moved to Rivers state; Dr Chukwuemeka J. Chukwu who is REC in Ebonyi state, will now move to Enugu state; while Dr Mahmuda Isah who is serving in Jigawa state, has been moved to Kaduna state.
While noting that the new RECs were joining the Commission with knowledge and experience in various fields, with nine, including four professors coming from the academia; two lawyers; an accountant; a retired ambassador and six (6) civil/public servants, including retired permanent secretaries, the Chairman urged them to be prepared to face the daunting tasks ahead.