Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmoud Yakubu, on Wednesday swore in nine Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) at the INEC headquarters in Abuja.
Mahmoud had, a few weeks ago, also sworn-in 14 RECs. Wednesday’s exercise increases the number of commissioners to 23.
Five of the newly appointed commissioners were reappointed for a second and final term, while the remaining four are new appointees.
Mahmoud charged the appointees to work towards the success of the 2019 polls.
“You are therefore coming at a very auspicious time. I wish to reiterate our commitment to Nigerians that the 2019 General Elections will be a remarkable improvement on the acclaimed success of the last general elections.
“You are fortunate to assume duty just after the conclusion of the Commission’s Strategic Plan 2017-2021. In terms of strategic planning, we are prepared for 2019.
“Furthermore, we are already taking practical steps towards actualising the Strategic Plan. The complimentary document, the Election Project Plan, is almost ready. Very soon, the Election Management System that will enable us to track activities almost on daily basis will be ready.”
He charged them to prepare to implement the plan.
“You will also interact with various categories of stakeholders, including partisan actors. As election managers, you must maintain the required openness and consultation. At the same time, you must be very firm and courageous on the side of the law as well as our regulations and guidelines as required of you as the unbiased umpire. Be fair to all, partisan to none.”
The commissioners’ work begins in earnest as the commission will be conducting four elections in quick succession in the next few months.
The Dukku North State Constituency by-election in Gombe State is holding this weekend, followed by the Eti Osa I State Constituency in Lagos State and Kware/Wamakko Federal Constituency in Sokoto State.
“Already, the end of tenure Governorship election in Anambra State has been scheduled to hold on 18th November. I wish to put you on notice that some of you, especially the new appointees, will be deployed to these elections for immediate field orientation,” Mr Mahmoud told them INEC is currently carrying out a continuous voters’ registration process, the electoral chief reminded his subordinates.
“The exercise is conducted at the Local Government level on a quarterly basis. At the end of the first quarter of the exercise, some 1,810,153 citizens were registered. The exercise is now in the second week of the second quarter and already some 282,281 citizens have been registered, making a total of 2,092,434 new registrants so far,” he said.
He said as part of the commission’s continuing improvement of the electoral process, it had introduced an innovation in voter registration in Anambra State which will in due course be extended nationwide. This he said we the use of the newly acquired Direct Data Capturing Machines, DDCMs.