By Nathaniel Gana and Dominic James
Thursday 21st July 2021
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has sworn in a new Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr Hale Gabriel Longpet, from Plateau state. The new member of the INEC family was immediately posted to Kogi state.
Longpet, who obtained his doctorate degree in 2001 specialising in Social Work and Policy Analysis, is replacing Dr Nentawe Gwoshwe, who resigned his appointment to pursue other endeavours a few months ago.
At a brief swearing-in ceremony held at the INEC Headquarters, Abuja, on Thursday, 21st July 2022, the INEC Chairman charged Longpet to settle down quickly for the huge task ahead.
Prof. Yakubu said: “as you assume duty immediately, let me remind you that you are responsible for the management of human and materials resources in your State of posting. You must immediately interact with your staff, pay attention to their welfare, visit the Local Government offices and assess the various facilities in readiness for the 2023 General Election.”
He added: “The Commission has set the bar for credible elections very high. I urge you to join us in raising the bar even higher. I wish to assure you that the Commission will always support you to deliver on our commitment to credible elections.”
Prof Yakubu also told the Longpet that as a Resident Electoral Commissioner, he would be expected to interact with various stakeholders. According to the INEC Chairman, Longpet must be transparent and non-partisan while remaining firm and courageous in discharging his official responsibilities.
He directed the new Kogi REC to familiarise himself with the Electoral Legal Framework – the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the Electoral Act 2022 and the Commission’s Regulations and Guidelines.
“You should also study the Commission’s Strategic Plan 2022-2026, the Election Project Plan 2023, as well as established processes and procedures,” he told Longpet, adding, “after all, the 2023 General Election is just 218 days (or about seven months) away”.
The INEC Chairman also urged the REC to put Nigeria and Nigerians first in discharging his responsibilities and abide by his oath of office.
His words: “You must not act to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate. You must defend the choice made by voters in all elections and under all circumstances. You must protect the sanctity of the vote without which a democratic election is meaningless. I wish you a successful tenure.”
In his response, Longpet acknowledged his warm reception since his arrival. He promised to work diligently in line with the oath of office.
The REC acknowledged what he termed as tremendous successes recorded in the conduct of the last two governorship elections, attributing the feats to the Commission’s impeccable management of the processes.
He assured the Commission that he would do his best to contribute to more remarkable successes in the future in compliance with the provisions of the law. He also pledged not to do anything that would bring the Commission to disrepute while asking for cooperation in discharging his duties.