From David Onuoja, Abuja

NEWSDAILYNIGERIA: History has been recorded, as Four former Directors of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and five others, were swear-in as the new Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), by the Commission’s Chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu,Tuesday Morning in Abuja.

The four former Directors who are now Resident Electoral Commissioner (RECs) along with others are: Mal. Aminu Idris who is in charge of Kaduna, Mohammed Sadiq Abubakar- Kwara, Mrs Oluwatoyin O. Babalola -Ondo and Shehu L. Wahab for Nasarawa states; while others are, Abubakar Dambo Sarkin Pawa – Kebbi, Abubakar Ma’aji Ahmed- Borno Dr. Anugbum Onuoha -Edo, Ehimeakhe Shaka Isah -Akwa Ibom and Olubunmi O. Omoseyindemi – Ekiti Sates respectively.

Addressing the newly swear-in Commissioners, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu urged them to be diligent in carrying out their duties and must at all times be guided by the electoral legal framework, the code of conduct for RECs and their good conscience.

He 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.

“Ensure regular consultations with critical stakeholders such as 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.

“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.

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“You are in charge of personnel and resources. I expect you to handle these responsibilities very well indeed. We will hold you accountable for your actions and inactions. Manage your personnel as well as the extremely limited resources at your disposal very well.

“Among the nine new RECs, four have been career officers of the Commission rising to the rank of Director.This is the first time that several INEC career officers are appointed as RECs. 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 also in the public service at both National and State level”, he said.

Professor Mahmoud also said, “Very soon, the Commission will release the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the re-run elections which will be combined with bye-elections in constituencies where vacancies have been declared by Presiding Officers of legislative houses following the death or resignation of serving members of the National and State assemblies.

“So far, five vacancies have been declared for Surulere 1 Federal Constituency of Lagos State, Jalingo/Yorro/Zing Federal Constituency of Taraba State, Chibok State Constituency of Borno State, Chikun State Constituency of Kaduna State and Guma State Constituency of Benue State.

“Similarly, we want to assure citizens in six other constituencies that we are liaising with the National and State assemblies for the declaration of vacancies so that bye-elections can be conducted in earnest. These are Ebonyi South and Yobe East Senatorial Districts, Akoko North East/Akoko North West Federal Constituency of Ondo State, Yauri/Shanga/Ngaski Federal Constituency of Kebbi State, Isa/Sabon Birni Federal Constituency of Sokoto State and Khana II State Constituency of Rivers State.

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Responding, Mrs Oluwatoyin O. Babalola on behalf of other RECs, pledged their allegiance to the Commission and Nigeria and also promised to carry out their duty in line with the ethical and professional standard of the Commission including the electoral Act, disciplines and hard working to make the Commission achieved its mission and vision.

According to her, “We will not be partisan but fair, impartial to all political actors, parties and defend the integrity of the oath taken.

“We are conscious of the enormous responsibility in electoral processes as the Resident Electoral Commissioner especially in a complex country of ours Nigeria; where election would be fair when they wins but their mandate stolen when they loss.

“As we move to our various place of assignments, we will abide with the advice given to us by the Chairman in working harmoniously with the Chairman and other national Commissioners”, she pledge.

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