INEC swears in nine new RECs

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The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, on Tuesday swore in nine additional Resident Electoral Commissioners.

The Senate had on November 1, 2023, approved the appointment of seven of the nominees of President Bola Tinubu as RECs of the Commission.

The appointment followed Tinubu’s request for confirmation of the nomination of the RECs for INEC in accordance with the provisions of Section 154(1) of the Constitution.

At the swearing-in ceremony held at the INEC Headquarters in Abuja, Yakubu told the nine new RECs that the conduct of elections was not only a huge responsibility but also a sacred duty urging them to be guided by the electoral legal framework, the code of conduct for RECs and good conscience.

He said, “The conduct of elections is not only a huge responsibility but also a sacred duty. As RECs, you are the representatives of the Commission in the various states to which you will be deployed shortly.

“I urge you not to engage in a puerile debate that adds no value to your work. At the same time, you must not be impervious to genuine criticisms. You must maintain the Commission’s tradition of regular consultations with critical stakeholders.

“You must always be very firm in ensuring fairness and transparency to all. Let me make it clear to you from the outset that you must at all times be guided by the electoral legal framework, the code of conduct for RECs, and your good conscience.

“Similarly, I must warn you to understand and operate within the limits of your delegated powers and responsibilities. Our state offices are part and parcel of the Commission and we will not hesitate to deal with acts of defiance, indiscretion, or transgression on the part of any REC.”

The INEC chairman further noted that the 10th REC-designate would be sworn in next month on the expiry of the tenure of the REC representing Akwa Ibom State currently deployed to Delta State.

He said, “Today, nine out of the 10 RECs screened and confirmed by the National Assembly were sworn in at this ceremony.

“The tenth REC-designate will be sworn in next month on the expiry of the tenure of the REC representing Akwa Ibom State currently deployed to Delta State. By the proactive decision taken by the appointing authority, there will be no long waiting period before the vacancy is filled.

“Let me therefore seize this opportunity to commend the selfless and dedicated service rendered to the commission and the nation by the outgoing REC in Delta State, Reverend Dr Monday Udo Tom. The same appreciation is extended to all the other RECs whose tenure ended after serving meritoriously.”

Mahmood added that this was the first time that several INEC career officers were appointed as RECs, calling on them to hit the ground immediately.

“Among the nine new RECs, four have been career officers of the Commission rising to the rank of Director. They have been involved in elections and electoral activities both in the field and at the Headquarters.

“Their experiences traversed electoral operations, election and party monitoring and electoral litigation. This is the first time that several INEC career officers have been appointed as RECs. You are not new to the conduct of elections. There is no learning curve for you.

“Consequently, there can be no excuses for failing to hit the ground running and for making a huge difference to the quality and transparency of elections. The other five RECs are sworn in today and have varied experiences in public service at both the National and State levels. We will hold you to the same standard as we hold the career officers of the Commission.”

The new RECs have been deployed as follows: Abubakar Dambo Sarkin Pawa, Kebbi; Abubakar Ma’aji Ahmed, Borno; Dr. Anugbum Onuoha, Edo State; Ehimeakhe Shaka Isah,
Akwa Ibom; Aminu Idris, Kaduna; Mohammed Sadiq Abubakar, Kwara; Barr. Oluwatoyin Babalola, Ondo; Olubunmi Omoseyindemi, Ekiti; and Shehu Wahab, Nasarawa.

Oluwatoyin Babalola who spoke on behalf of the newly sworn-in RECs pledged to be loyal to their duties while recognising their responsibilities as RECs in Nigeria.

Until her appointment, Oluwatoyin Babalola from Ekiti State was the Director of Legal Services at the commission’s headquarters.

Aminu Idris from Nasarawa State was a retired director, Election and Political Parties Monitoring Department, at the INEC headquarters.

Shehu Abdulwahab was the INEC’s administrative secretary in Benue State before he was appointed a REC.