Breaking: INEC Chairman Swears-In 9 New RECs, Warns them to Operate within Delegated Powers and Responsibilities

...four have been career officers of the Commission rising to the rank of Director

The Chairman,  Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC Professor Mahmood Yakubu today 12 December, 2023 has sworn-in nine Resident Electoral Commissioners to fill vacancies in nine States of the Federation.

SpyeTV News reports that nine out of the 10 RECs screened and confirmed by the National Assembly were sworn-in at the ceremony today while 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. 

The historic meeting is an extraordinary one because this is the first time the Commission is combining its regular meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and the swearing-in of new RECs to fill vacancies in nine States of the Federation. 

Speaking at the meeting which is the last for the year 2023,  Professor Yakubu said as RECs, you are the representatives of the Commission in the various States to which you will be deployed shortly. The work of the Commission is a difficult task. 

He added that, election is a multi-stakeholder activity. It is also a very emotive issue, especially in an environment where some desperate political actors and their supporters want to win by all means, failing which they blame the Commission or even seek to deligitimise the processes and demonise officials.

Prof. Yakubu therefore​ urged them not to engage in a puerile debate that adds no value to their 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. These are the political parties, civil society organisations, the media, traditional institutions, religious bodies and the security agencies.

"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. You must also work closely with your field officers in the State, listening to their wise counsel, but always providing guidance, leadership and effective supervision. 

He categorically warned them to understand and operate within the limits of their delegated powers and responsibilities,  noting that INEC 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."

He commended 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.

He noted that 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. 

He stressed that this is the first time that several INEC career officers are 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 sworn-in today have varied experiences in the public service at both National and State level. "We will hold you to the same standard as we hold the career officers of the Commission."he said

Speaking on behalf of the newly swirn in RECs,  Mrs Oluwatoyin O. Babalola Ondo State REC, thanked the commission for giving them the privilege to serve in a capacity that work directly with critical stakeholders of each States. She pledged on behalf of other RECs to work diligently, to be firm in ensuring fairness and transparency while carrying out their constitutional responsibilities. 

The new Resident Electoral Commissioners are as follows:

i. Abubakar Dambo Sarkin Pawa - Kebbi

ii. Abubakar Ma’aji Ahmed- Borno

iii. Dr. Anugbum Onuoha- Edo

iv. Ehimeakhe Shaka Isah- Akwa Ibom

v. Mal. Aminu Idris - Kaduna

vi. Mohammed Sadiq Abubakar - Kwara

vii. Mrs Oluwatoyin O. Babalola -Ondo

viii. Olubunmi O. Omoseyindemi- Ekiti

ix. Shehu L. Wahab -Nasarawa

The new RECs are coming on board just as the Commission is about to conclude the three stages of recent General Election i.e. the main elections conducted on 25th February and 18th March 2023, the supplementary elections where no winners emerged at first ballot held on 15th April 2023, and the re-run elections by the order of the Election Petition and Appeal Tribunals as they conclude their determination of all the cases before them.

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