Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has assured on the readiness of the commission to conduct this weekend’s rerun elections across the country.
INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, gave the assurance during the swearing-in of two Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), at the party’s headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said that all sensitive and non-sensitive materials had been deployed to the states, stakeholders’ meetings held and security arrangements finalised.
“You will recall that recently, the Senate confirmed the nomination of two RECs as a result of the vacancies that exist in two states of the federation. Consequently, two new RECs have just been sworn-in.
“They are Dr Alalibo Sinikiem Johnson from Bayelsa State and Umar Mukhtar Gajiram from Borno State. Johnson is from Bayelsa State and replaces the former REC in Cross River State while Gajiram replaces the former REC in Taraba State who died a few months ago.
“Let me, therefore, congratulate Johnson and Gajiram on their appointment. As I told your colleagues on the occasion of their swearing-in as RECs, you will also be responsible for the implementation of the commission’s policies.
“In doing so, you will exercise supervisory control over personnel, resources as well the legal and administrative processes in the state to which you are deployed. You will also interact with various categories of stakeholders.
“In doing so, you must maintain the required openness and consultation. At the same time, you must be very firm in the discharge of your responsibilities.
“As RECs, you can be deployed to any part of the country at any time the exigencies of service require but you will never serve in your states of origin throughout your tenure. In line with this policy, Dr Johnson is hereby deployed to Cross River State while Mr. Gajiram is deployed to Taraba State.
“Your deployment today is coming just three days to the conduct of several re-run elections by court order. On Saturday this week, elections will hold in 28 constituencies spread across 11 States of the federation.
“Six of these elections involve entire constituencies while 22 elections will be held only in some polling units.
“In all the constituencies, the elections will be contested by the same political parties and candidates that participated in the 2019 general election except where the elections were nullified on grounds of candidate disqualification.
“The two affected constituencies are Gamawa Federal Constituency in Bauchi State and Agwara State Constituency in Niger State where elections will be held without the candidates and parties that were declared winners in the general election.
“There will be no substitution of candidates as these are not bye-elections but court-ordered re-run elections and the period for nomination of candidates had lapsed since the end of 2018 in preparation for the 2019 general election.
“I wish to assure Nigerians that the commission is ready for the re-run elections. All sensitive and non-sensitive materials have been deployed to the states, stakeholders’ meetings have been held, security arrangements are being finalised while training and posting of ad hoc staff as well as the configuration of Smart Card Readers are ongoing.
“Where the elections involve entire constituencies, National as well as some Resident Electoral Commissioners will be deployed. The Commission will work with the security agencies to ensure adequate protection of election officials, accredited observers, the media and the processes generally against acts inimical to the conduct of peaceful and credible elections.
“We have received assurances from the security agencies of adequate protection of the processes in line with the rules of engagement for election duty,” he said.