The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, on Thursday, sworn-in 19 newly appointed Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs).
Yakubu, during the event held at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, charged the newly sworn-in RECs to devote their loyalty to Nigeria and not to compromise INEC’s integrity.
He advised the RECs to insulate themselves from temptations and pressures of inducement from politicians.
The INEC chairman also urged them to adhere strictly to the commission’s code of conduct and avoid undue fraternity with politicians.
He said: “As I welcome you to the commission, I urge you to settle down quickly and familiarise yourselves with the demands of your new responsibilities, always bearing in mind our commitment to free, fair, credible, transparent and verifiable elections.
“With exactly 113 days to the 2023 general elections, we are aware that 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.
“Over the years, the commission has worked tirelessly to reform the electoral process and introduce many innovations that are generally acknowledged to have improved the electoral process. 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.”
The 19 RECs were deployed to their geopolitical zones,but outside their states of origin, in line with INEC’s regulation that forbids a commissioner from serving in his or her home state.
Five of the 19 RECs are returning commissioners, who were reappointed by President Muhammadu Buhari and approved by the Senate.
Dr Adediran Rahmon Tella; former REC in Oyo State, Dr Agboke Mutiu Olaleke; and immediate past vice chancellor of First Technical University, Professor Ayobami Salami, were deployed as RECs to Oyo, Osun and Ekiti States, respectively