By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
Ahead of the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has vowed that it would not be distracted by anybody.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu made the vow, even as he
charged its various Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, to be guided by laid down rules, INEC guidelines, the Electoral Act and the constitution of the country in the discharge of their duties.
Prof. Yakubu gave the charge yesterday in Abuja while speaking at the swearing-in ceremony of Dr Tella Rahmon as a Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, for Ekiti.
Dr Rahmon was deployed to Ekiti State.
Prof. Yakubu made it pointedly clear that the Commission will not compromise its oath of office for any reason, stressing that whoever the people vote for becomes their governor or representative.
The Commission, the Chairman said, was making good progress in its preparations for Edo and Ondo States governorship elections.
The INEC Chairman, while responding to reporters’ question regarding accusation of interference in Edo governorship election by its REC in Bayelsa State by the All Progressives Congress, APC, the Chairman vowed that the Commission will not be distracted.
His words, “Let me also say this, that we stand by our Resident Electoral Commissioners. We know the kind of job we are doing on the eve of elections.
”All manner of people come with all manner of accusations to slander officials of the commission and essentially to divert our attention from the onerous task of conducting elections in the country.
“We will not be distracted. We know all these shenanigans, people have been doing this for a long time. It will not distract us from doing what is right.
“My assurance to the people of Edo and the people of Ondo and then the people of the 13 constituencies where we are going to conduct by-elections on October 31 is that they should expect from INEC free, fair and credible elections; professional conduct.
“We will not compromise our oath of office for any reason.
“Whoever the people vote for becomes their governor or representative. This is our assurance to Nigerians”, he stated.
Speaking on the activities of political actors in Edo State, Yakubu said INEC was concerned, pointing out that the Commission was leaving no stone unturned in speaking to the political actors.
Turning to the new REC for Ekiti State, Prof Mahmood Yakubu said, “The only business that the commission knows is conducting elections.
“You (Dr Rahmon) are going to be responsible for managing resources and personnel in the state you are going to be deployed to. So, you should manage resources prudently.
“You should be firm and always mindful of the fact that ours is an onerous responsibility and you must always be on the side of the Electoral Act, our guidelines and regulations, and above all the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The policy of the commission at the moment is to deploy RECs to their geopolitical zones. But on no account will they serve in their states of origin; not even deployment to assist the sitting RECs in their states of origin. You are hereby deployed to Ekiti State as the REC”, he said.
In his remarks, Rahmon appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari, and Yabubu for his consideration to serve as REC, saying “I consider it a great privilege”.