A new Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Dr Hale Gabriel Longpet, has been sworn in by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and posted to Kogi State.
Longpet replaces Dr Nentawe Gwoshwe, who resigned his appointment to pursue other endeavours some months back.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who performed the swearing in at a brief ceremony held at the INEC Headquarters, Abuja, on Thursday, charged the new REC to settle down quickly for the huge task ahead.
“As you assume duty immediately, let me remind you that you are responsible for the management of human and materials resources in your State of posting. You must immediately interact with your staff, pay attention to their welfare, visit the Local Government offices and assess the various facilities in readiness for the 2023 General Election.
“The Commission has set the bar for credible elections very high. I urge you to join us in raising the bar even higher. I wish to assure you that the Commission will always support you to deliver on our commitment to credible elections,” the INEC boss said.
Yakubu also charged him to be transparent and non-partisan while remaining firm and courageous in discharging his official responsibilities.
He directed the new Kogi REC to familiarise himself with the Electoral Legal Framework – the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the Electoral Act 2022 and the Commission’s Regulations and Guidelines.
“You should also study the Commission’s Strategic Plan 2022-2026, the Election Project Plan 2023, as well as established processes and procedures,” he told Longpet, adding, “after all, the 2023 General Election is just 218 days (or about seven months) away,” he said.
The INEC Chairman also urged the REC to put Nigeria and Nigerians first in discharging his responsibilities and abide by his oath of office.
“You must not act to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate. You must defend the choice made by voters in all elections and under all circumstances. You must protect the sanctity of the vote without which a democratic election is meaningless. I wish you a successful tenure,” he said.
Responding, Longpet pledged to work diligently in line with his oath of office, while assuring the commission that he would do his best to contribute to more remarkable successes in the future in compliance with the provisions of the law; and that he will not to do anything that would bring the commission to disrepute.
Meanwhile, INEC has said it will on Friday, 22nd July 2022, publish the personal particulars of candidates nominated by their political parties for the 2023 Governorship and State Assembly elections in all the constituencies nationwide.
INEC Chairman, Yakubu appealed to citizens and aspirants “to seize the opportunity to scrutinise the particulars of the candidates and seek judicial remedy for any observed violation of the law as provided in Sec. 29 of the Electoral Act 2022.”
He regretted that the failure of some political parties to practice internal democracy had resulted in several court cases in which the Commission had also been joined as a respondent.
“Already, the Commission has been inundated by numerous pre-election cases arising from the conduct of congresses and primaries by political parties for the 2023 General Election.
“So far, 334 pre-election cases have been filed in various divisions of the Federal High Court across the country by aspirants challenging the nomination of candidates or their exclusion from the list submitted to the Commission.
“Although these are purely intra-party issues, the Commission has been joined in all these cases. With the publication tomorrow of the personal particulars of candidates for Governorship, Deputy Governorship and State Assembly elections, we expect the number of cases to rise even higher.
“Sadly, the issue of internal democracy in political parties remains a sore point in our electoral process in Nigeria. The Commission will continue to engage with political parties while standing firm against any transgression by strictly enforcing the provisions of the law and extant regulations and guidelines,” he said.