The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has decried the “win-at-all-costs” attitude of Nigerian politicians, lamenting that it makes the commission’s job challenging.
Speaking during the swearing-in ceremony of nine newly appointed Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), Prof. Yakubu lamented that sore losers often blame their misfortunes on INEC, even resorting to “demonising” officials and attempting to “delegitimise the processes.”
He, however, cautioned the newly sworn-in RECs against engaging in unproductive debates that detract from their core duties.
While emphasising the importance of being receptive to constructive criticism, he urged them to uphold INEC’s tradition of regular consultations with critical stakeholders, including political parties, civil society organisations, the media, traditional institutions, religious bodies, and security agencies.
“Let me make it clear to you from the outset that you must at all times be guided by the electoral legal framework, the code of conduct for RECs and your good conscience,” Yakubu added.
He further warned that the commission would not tolerate any acts of defiance, indiscretion, or transgression by any REC.
The INEC Chairman noted that the new RECs were joining the commission at a critical juncture, with court-ordered re-run elections on the horizon. He announced the impending release of a combined timetable and schedule of activities for the re-run elections and bye-elections in constituencies with vacant legislative seats.
Prof. Yakubu disclosed that five vacancies had already been declared in both the National and state assemblies, while he assured citizens in six other constituencies awaiting vacancy declarations that INEC was actively liaising with the relevant legislative bodies to expedite the process. These constituencies, he said, include Ebonyi South and Yobe East senatorial districts; Akoko North East/Akoko North-West Federal Constituency of Ondo State; Yauri/Shanga/Ngaski Federal Constituency of Kebbi State; Isa/Sabon Birni Federal Constituency of Sokoto State; and Khana II State Constituency of Rivers State.
Of the 10 RECs recently confirmed by the National Assembly, nine were sworn in on Tuesday. The remaining REC-designate will be sworn in next month upon the expiration of the tenure of the current REC representing Akwa Ibom State, who is currently deployed to Delta State.