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INEC inducts 10 new RECs

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Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has inducted ten new Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs).

This was declared by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu during a retreat organized by the Commission in Abuja on Monday.

Yakubu noted that the retreat was in line with a well-established global practices.

“For us in INEC, retreat is not just about induction of new appointees. Beyond that, it is an opportunity to review performance, reappraise processes, discuss innovations, engage service providers, interface with lawmakers on critical areas of reform and explore new frontiers in our continuous effort to improve organizational capacity for better service delivery.

“Many of you here may recall that this is the 5th retreat organised by the Commission in the last two years. In March 2022, we had an induction retreat for new National Commissioners, followed by another one on election logistics in October and then another retreat for new RECs in November. The most recent retreat was held in August last year to the review of the 2023 General Election.

“Today, we are holding another retreat to induct 10 new RECs: nine of them were sworn-in on 12th December 2023 and one of them on 30th January 2024. In a matter of weeks after the swearing-in, many of the of the new RECs were saddled with the task of conducting re-run elections in a few locations in some constituencies or bye-elections in entire constituencies,” he said.

He added,”As I said repeatedly on many occasions, the reality of the work we do in INEC is that there is no election season in Nigeria at all.

“Elections are held all-year round in addition to numerous electoral activities such as voter registration. Even today’s retreat is holding against the background of forthcoming governorship elections in Edo State in the next 81 days and Ondo State in the 137 days.

“In addition, there are five pending bye-elections for Babura/Garki Federal Constituency of Jigawa State and four State constituencies: Khana II of Rivers State, Bagwai/Shanono of Kano State, Zaria Kewaye of Kaduna State and Ganye of Adamawa State. These outstanding bye-elections bring the total of such elections to 14 since the inauguration of the national and state assemblies in June last year.”

The INEC Boss urged the new REC’s to think, reflect and innovate for credible elections, as they moved towards implementing reforms and innovations that they intend introduce by administrative action

“Looking forward, there are four major elections before the next General Election in 2027. The Anambra State Governorship election next year will be followed in 2026 by the Ekiti and Osun State Governorship elections and, I must remind you in case you forget, the Area Council elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“Therefore, as we think, reflect and innovate for credible elections, we are also instantly implementing the reforms and innovations that we can introduce by administrative action. Since election is a process governed by law, we also plan to intensify our engagement with the National Assembly for activities that require legal reform.

“The format for today’s retreat is slightly modified. Instead of the general presentations by all Departments and Directorates at the Headquarters, we considered it more appropriate to limit the Departmental presentations while providing for discussions at the end of each presentation,” he said.

Yakubu further said,”I must also add that in making your contributions, let us maintain the spirit of retreat and not that of a seminar or workshop. This is also not a review meeting. We are done with these engagements and both the General Election and Review report will soon be made public.

“As new RECs, we should focus on how we can acquaint ourselves more with the processes and procedures of the Commission. For the veterans, we should leverage on our privileged field experience to contribute on how to mitigate recurring challenges in the areas of pre-election and post-election litigations, operational issues especially in the area of logistics, improvement on voter education processes, issues of strategic communication and combating fake news, misinformation and disinformation as well as inclusivity in the electoral process, voter registration, allotting voters to polling units, the role of technology from pre-election activities to Election Day processes, political party issues mainly arising from leadership crisis and the management of party primaries, the recruitment and training of election duty officials, election security and our own code of conduct.

“In a well organised retreat such as this one, there is always something new to learn. Upon reflection, there is also new experience to share with colleagues. However, always bear in mind that the cardinal objective is improved service delivery.”

The INEC Chairman expressed the Commission’s deepest appreciation to the Development Associates Inc. (DAI) and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) for supporting this retreat in particular and many other activities of the Commission in general.

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