Resist overtures from politicians, INEC Chairman cautions new RECs

Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

National chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) Professor Mahmood Yakubu has cautioned newly appointed Resident Electoral Commissioners to be wary of desperate politicians anxious to court their friendship to achieve sinister motive.

Addressing the 14 Resident Electoral Commissioners shortly  after they took their oath of office, Professor Yakubu admonished them to be transparent in the discharge of their onerous assignment and refrain from partisanship.

“As Resident Electoral Commissioners, you will be posted to the states. Bear in mind that you can be posted to any part of the country but none of you will serve in his state of origin. You will be responsible for managing personnel, processes and resources in your states of posting.  You will also interact with partisan actors. Some of them would like to forge an unsavoury relationship with you and your staff. You must resist such overtures. Always bear in mind that INEC is not a political party.

“INEC has no candidate in any election. You must demonstrate transparency, impartiality, courage and balanced interaction with all stakeholders. As an umpire, our responsibility is to guarantee a level playing field for all actors, inclusiveness for all citizens, irrespective of gender or disability and, above all, respect and protection of the choice  made by voters as sole determinant of elective representation at all levels.,’’

The INEC chairman equally admonished them to be  prudent in the management of the Commission resources and  discipline of staff under them.

“You must be conversant with existing electoral legal framework as well as the Commission’s plans and procedures, especially the Strategic Plan, the Election Project Plan, the Communication Plan and all other plans.

“You must also be conversant with the Commission’s code of conduct. Where you are in doubt, seek guidance or clarification from the Commission either by directly liaising with the headquarters or through the quarterly consultative meetings between the headquarters and the states. You will be held responsible for what transpires in your states of posting ranging from the discipline of staff to the prudent management of resources.’’

Speaking on behalf of his other colleagues, Professor Chukwuemeka Ezeonu,  assured the Commission that they would live up to expectations in the discharge of their responsibilities.

“We collectively  as incoming RECs, like to show appreciation and  I thank immensely the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who has found us worthy to serve in this capacity. We also thank the Senate that confirmed our nominations. This is a call to service.

“We pledge our commitment, our loyalty and we owe Nigerians a duty as umpire, to abide by the code of conduct, ethics and statutory act that set up the Commission.’’