The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has sworn in seven new Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) bringing the total number of serving RECs in the commission to 33.
The new RECs are: Baba Yusuf and Segun Agbaje, representing Borno and Ekiti states for second term.
Others are Uthman Ajidagba, Kwara; Yahaya Bello, Nasarawa State; Emmanuel Hart, Rivers; Mohammed Ibrahim, Gombe and Cyril Omorogbe, Edo.
Performing the ceremony on Tuesday in Abuja, INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, expressed confidence that the new RECs would contribute to the commission’s determination to make 2019 general elections the best in the country.
He said “with the track records of service in the academia, public service and private sector, it is gratifying to note that the new RECs made positive contributions to the society in various ways.
“I am equally delighted to note that some of you have managed elections at national level as RECs.
“I am confident that you will bring to bear on your new assignments, the experience of the recent past that will contribute to our determination to make the 2019 general elections our best elections in Nigeria.”
Mr Yakubu advised the new commissioners to maintain openness and consultations, as well as be firm and courageous in carrying out their new assignments.
The chairman disclosed that in addition to the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections, the commission would be conducting four bye-elections this year to fill vacancies.
These, according to him, include Takum state constituency in Taraba, Lokoja/Koton-Karfe Federal Constituency in Kogi, Bauchi South Senatorial District, and Kastina North Senatorial District in Kastina State.
The INEC boss reassured newly registered voters in the ongoing nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) of getting their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) before the 2019 general elections.
He added that “we have consistently reassured the public that for those who registered in 2017, their PVCs would be available for collection in the first week of May 2018.
“Those who registered in the first quarter of this year, that is between January and March, as well as those who are registering right now in the second quarter of this year, would collect their cards thereafter.”
Mr Yakubu also reassured the public and those who applied for replacement of their PVCs that their cards would be available for collection before the 2019 general elections.
“For those who registered in Ekiti and Osun in 2017 and 2018, priority attention was given to the production of their PVCs, such that all the cards would be available ahead of the July 14 and Sept. 22 governorship elections,’’ he said.
Responding on behalf of the new RECs, Segun Agbaje, representing Ekiti State, pledged the new commissioner’s readiness to justify the confidence reposed in them.
He said “by the grace of God, we shall finish well.”
He expressed confidence in the leadership of Yakubu, saying “with your style of leadership, we would not be surprised if 2019 elections turned out to be the best elections in the country.”