By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
On Wednesday, September 15, 2021, three new National Commissioners were sworn-in by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja while a new Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) was sworn-in by the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
The three new National Commissioners were; Prof. Abdullahi Zuru, a Chemist and former Vice Chancellor of Kebbi State University and Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto; Prof. Sani Adam, a lawyer and former Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Abuja; and Dr Baba Bila, a Chartered Accountant and former Bursar of the University of Benin.
The new Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Sa’idu Ahmad, a Professor of English Literature from Bayero University Kano, who fills the vacancy for Jigawa State, was deployed as the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Zamfara State by the INEC Chairman.
Speaking at the meeting to welcome the three National Commissioners and to swear-in the REC, Prof. Yakubu, who noted that all four appointees bring to the Commission their vast knowledge and experience as scholars and administrators, expressed confidence that they will join INEC in further extending the frontiers of free and fair elections in Nigeria.
He further noted that, “In addition to adherence to the provisions of the law, our success in this arduous task also draws from our integrity as election managers. We must be strict in the application of the law, firm in handling the public trust bestowed on us and fair in our dealings with political parties and candidates.
“We must remember that in discharging our responsibilities, Nigeria and Nigerians must always come first. We must abide by our oaths of office to defend the choice made by Nigerians at the polls in all elections and continue to protect the sanctity of the vote without which democratic election is meaningless”, he said.
While drawing the attention of the new National and Resident Electoral Commissioners to the reality of serving in INEC, he pointed out that the task ahead is challenging but it is also a national call to service.
“It is important to quickly settle in and familiarize yourselves with the rules, procedures and responsibilities of your office”, he said. “Let me reiterate once again that you should always bear in mind that a credible election draws heavily from the integrity of the election managers. I urge you to join us in raising the bar even higher”.
In his response on behalf of the other Commissioners, Prof. Abdullahi Zuru thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the confidence bestowed on them to have nominated them for screening and confirmation as National Commissioners of INEC, and also thanked the Senate President and Speaker for accepting the President’s nominations and screening them for the assignment.
He further said that, “As National Commissioners we will ensure to operate honestly without fear or favour. Our objective will remain the conduct of free, fair and credible elections at all times and levels”.
He assured Nigerians that they will carry out a free and fair election, advance the cause of democracy in the country, and make the INEC Family and Nigeria proud.