Abuja, Nigeria: In a historic ceremony, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) swore in nine new Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to fill vacancies in nine states, marking the first time such a combined meeting and swearing-in has taken place.
Chairman’s Stern Warning:
In a stern address, INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu emphasized the gravity of the task before the new RECs. He warned them against engaging in “puerile debate,” but also urged them to remain open to constructive criticism and maintain regular consultations with stakeholders. Upholding fairness, transparency, and the electoral law were highlighted as key priorities.
Professionalism and Accountability Demanded:
Prof. Yakubu emphasized the importance of professionalism and accountability. He warned against defiance, indiscretion, and transgression, stating that the Commission would not hesitate to take action against any RECs who violate its standards. Managing personnel and resources effectively, hitting the ground running, and making a “huge difference” in the quality and transparency of elections were among the expectations outlined.
Career Officers and Varied Experiences:
The nine new RECs include four seasoned INEC career officers and five individuals with diverse public service backgrounds. Prof. Yakubu acknowledged the career officers’ lack of a “learning curve” due to their extensive experience, while expecting the same high standards from all new RECs.
Upcoming Elections and Bye-Elections:
The Chairman announced the forthcoming release of a timetable for re-run elections and bye-elections in various constituencies across the country. He reassured citizens that the Commission is actively liaising with relevant authorities to declare vacancies and conduct bye-elections in six additional constituencies.
Prof. Yakubu then revealed the deployment locations for the new RECs, ensuring they serve within their geo-political zones but not in their home states. This move aims to maintain impartiality and uphold the Commission’s commitment to fair and credible elections.
A Momentous Occasion:
This ceremony marks a significant milestone for INEC, demonstrating its commitment to filling vacancies and strengthening its capacity for future elections. The Chairman’s strong message underscores the Commission’s high expectations for professionalism, accountability, and delivering free and fair elections in Nigeria.