The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has sworn in 19 newly-appointed Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) ahead of the 2023 general elections.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who performed the ceremony on Thursday at the INEC headquarters in Abuja, warned the officials not to be visitors to government houses in order to maintain their neutrality.
In July, President Muhammadu Buhari transmitted the names of 19 nominees as RECs of INEC to the Senate for confirmation.
All the nominees were confirmed by the senate despite allegations of corruption and partisanship against some of them.
While 14 of the RECs were fresh appointments, five were re-appointed for a second and final term.
The renewal nominees confirmed include Ibrahim Abdullahi (Adamawa); Obo Effanga (Cross River); Umar Ibrahim (Taraba); Agboke Olaleke (Ogun); and Professor Samuel Egwu (Kogi).
Those confirmed for fresh appointment Onyeka Ugochi (Imo); Muhammad Bashir (Sokoto); Ayobami Salami, a professor, (Oyo); Zango Abdu (Katsina); Queen Agwu (Ebonyi); and Agundu Tersoo (Benue); Yomere Oritsemlebi (Delta); Yahaya Ibrahim, a professor, (Kaduna); Nura Ali (Kano); Agu Uchenna (Enugu); Ahmed Garki (FCT); Hudu Yunusa (Bauchi); Uzochukwu Chijioke, a professor, (Anambra); and Mohammed Nura (Yobe
Speaking at the event, Yakubu said with exactly 113 days to the 2023 general election, “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”, Yakubu said.
The INEC boss observed that the commission had worked tirelessly to reform the electoral process and introduce many innovations that are generally acknowledged to have improved the electoral process.
He added: “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.
“Furthermore, you will also interact with various stakeholders. You should maintain the established practice of consultation 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. ”
“In discharging your responsibilities, you must at all times be transparent and non-partisan while remaining firm and courageous. You owe nothing to any individual but owe everything to the Nigerian people. We must continue to ensure that the choices they make on Election Day prevail. It is their decision. We are only administering the process in 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.”
Yakubu said in line with the commission’s current practice, RECs are deployed to States within their geo-political zones.
He, however, insisted that RECs won’t serve in their state of origin throughout their tenure.
Yakubu deployed the new officials as follows: Prof. Uzochukwu Chijioke was deployed to Abia, Barr. Nuhu Yunusa (Adamawa), Queen Elizabeth Agu (Anambra), Mohammed Bulama Nura (Bauchi), Prof. Samuel G. Egwu (Benue), Yomere Gabriel Oritsemolebi (Cross River), Onyeka Pauline Ugochi (Ebonyi) Obo Effanga (Edo), Prof. Ayobami Salami (Ekiti), Umar Ibrahim (Gombe),
Prof. Sylvia Uchenna Agu (Imo),
Prof. Muhammad L. Bashar (Jigawa),
Amb. Abdu Abdussamadu Zango (Kano)
Prof. Yahaya Makarfi Ibrahim (Katsina)
Ahmed Yushau Garki (Niger), Dr. Agboke Mutiu Olaleke (Osun) Dr. Agundu Oliver Tersoo (Plateau), Dr. Nura Ali (Sokoto), Ibrahim Abdullahi(Yobe).
The four RECs whose tenures were renewed were also redeployed. They are:
Dr Adediran Rahmon Tell who was redeployed from Ekiti to Oyo.
Mahmuda Isah was redeployed from Jigawa to Kaduna.
While Johnson Alalibo Sinikiem was redeployed to Rivers, Chukwuemeka J. Chukwu was posted to Enugu. Sinikiem and Chukwu were RECs for Cross River and Ebonyi respectively before their reappointment and subsequent redeployment.
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