By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu has assured Nigerians that the Commission is fully ready for the various re-run elections coming up on Saturday.
Prof Yakubu gave the assurance on Tuesday in Abuja while swearing-in new Resident Electoral Commissioners, Dr Alalibo Johnson from Bayelsa and Dr Umar Gajiram from Borno.
The INEC Chairman, while speaking on the Commission’s readiness for the Saturday court ordered rerun elections in 11 states, said there would not be substitution of candidates in the affected elections and constituencies.
He explained that there will be no substitution of candidates because they were not bye-elections but court-ordered re-run elections and that the period for nomination of candidates had lapsed since the end of 2018 in preparation for the 2019 general election.
According to him, “On Saturday this week, elections will hold in 28 constituencies spread across 11 States of the Federation. Six of these elections involve entire constituencies while 22 elections will be held only in some polling units.
“In all the constituencies, the elections will be contested by the same political parties and candidates that participated in the 2019 general election except where the elections were nullified on grounds of candidate disqualification”, he said.
Yakubu assured Nigerians that the Commission was ready for the re-run elections.
“All sensitive and non-sensitive materials have been deployed to the States, stakeholders’ meetings have been held, security arrangements are being finalised while training and posting of ad hoc staff as well as the configuration of Smart Card Readers are ongoing.
“Where the elections involve entire constituencies, National as well as some Resident Electoral Commissioners will be deployed.
“The Commission will work with the security agencies to ensure adequate protection of election officials, accredited observers, the media and the processes generally against acts inimical to the conduct of peaceful and credible elections.
“We have received assurances from the security agencies of adequate protection of the processes in line with the rules of engagement for election duty,” Mahmood said.
The INEC Chairman disclosed that
Johnson would be deployed to Cross River to replace the former REC of the state, while Gajiram replaces the former REC of Taraba, who died a few months ago.
Yakubu, while congratulating the new RECs, advised them to discharge their responsibilities in line with constitution and laws guiding the commission.
His words, “In doing so, you must maintain the required openness and consultation. At the same time, you must be very firm in the discharge of your responsibilities.”
Johnson holds a BSc. degree in Political Science and a Masters and Doctorate degrees in Peace and Conflict Studies. Until this appointment, he was a Lecturer at the Niger Delta University in Bayelsa.
Gajiram, holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Language and a Master’s degree in Public Administration. He served in various capacities in the Borno State civil service until his retirement as a substantive Director.
Responding on behalf the new RECs, Johnson said they were grateful for the opportunity given to them to serve Nigeria.
He pledged that they would work with to the commission executing the mandate given to it be the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which was to conduct credible elections.
In his words, “We shall ensure that, with the mandate and our responsibilities, we shall ensure that there will be free and fair election, credible elections in Nigeria.
“We will also work to deepen and sustain the democracy of Nigeria, Johnson pledged,” Johnson said.