INEC holds retreat for RECs ahead of Edo, Ondo gov polls

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INEC retreatThe Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has noted the upcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states, alongside several pending bye-elections, as immediate tasks necessitating unwavering readiness.

Yakubu stated this at the induction retreat for new Resident Electoral Commissioners in Lagos, on Monday.

The INEC boss emphasised the retreat’s role not only in inducting new appointees but also in reviewing and enhancing INEC’s operational capabilities.

He said, “Today’s retreat is held 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.

“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.

“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 the 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 INEC chairman stressed the importance of training and equipping the new RECs with the knowledge and skills required to handle these responsibilities effectively.

“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 our privileged field experience to contribute 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 code of conduct.

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

He underscored the commission’s commitment to perpetual election readiness and process improvement.

Nine of the RECs were sworn in on December 12, 2023, and one of them on January 30, 2024.

They were deployed as follows: Abubakar Dambo Sarkin Pawa, Kebbi; Abubakar Ma’aji Ahmed, Borno; Dr. Anugbum Onuoha, Edo State; Ehimeakhe Shaka Isah, Akwa Ibom; Aminu Idris, Kaduna; Mohammed Sadiq Abubakar, Kwara; Barr. Oluwatoyin Babalola, Ondo; Olubunmi Omoseyindemi, Ekiti; Etekamba Umore, Delta; and Shehu Wahab, Nasarawa.

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