The Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has advised Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to adhere to provisions of the Constitution and Electoral Act in discharging their responsibilities.
Yakubu gave the advice at the swearing-in of 14 new RECs at INEC headquarters on Friday in Abuja.
He said that as election managers, their credibility depended on their openness and transparency, which must be borne out of courage to strictly adhere to the provisions of the law and other guidelines.
He urged them to use their appointments, coming barely 19 months to 2019 general elections, to demonstrate that the success of 2015 election was not a fluke “but a systematic progression in the maturity of Nigeria’s democracy’’.
Yakubu said that INEC’s commitment to Nigerians was to make the 2019 general elections better than previous elections, and assured that it was achievable.
“As Resident Electoral Commissioners, you will be posted to the states. Bear in mind that you can be posted to any part of the country but none of you will serve in his state of origin.
“You will be responsible for managing personnel, processes and resources in your states of posting.
“You will also interact with partisan actors. Some of them will like to forge an unsavoury relationship with you and your staff. You must resist such overtures.
“Always bear in mind that INEC is not a political party. INEC has no candidate in any election.
“You must demonstrate transparency, impartiality, courage and balanced interaction with all stakeholders,’’ he stated.
He charged them to be conversant with existing electoral legal framework, the commission’s plan and procedures, especially the Strategic Plan, the Election Project Plan and Communication Plan.
“Where you are in doubt seek guidance or clarification from the commission either by directly liaising with the headquarters or through the quarterly consultative meetings between the headquarters and the states.
“You will be held responsible for what transpires in your states of posting, ranging from the discipline of staff to the prudent management of resources.’’
Responding on behalf of the new RECs, Prof. Godwill Obioma commended the Federal Government, the National Assembly and INEC for given them the grace to serve the country.
Obioma said that they were aware of their responsibilities and pledged to serve in accordance to the set rules and regulations, adding that above all, “we will serve with the spirit of commitment and integrity.’’
The new RECs are Hussaini Pai (FCT), Godwill Obioma (Abia), James Apam (Benue), Nwachukwu Orji (Ebonyi), Iloh Chuks (Enugu), Nentawe Yilwatda (Plateau), Umar Ibrahim (Taraba) and Emeka Joseph (Imo).
Others are Obo Effanga (Cross River), Francis Ezeonu (Anambra), Briyai Frankland (Bayelsa), Ibrahim Abdullahi (Adamawa), Agboke Olaleke (Ogun) and Ahmad Makama (Bauchi).