Buhari appoints Two INEC Commissioners from Ondo State
President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed two indigenes Ondo State as National Commissioner and Resident Electoral Commissioner at the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
They are; Mr. Sam Olumekun as a National Commissioner and Mr Olaniyi Olaleye Babalola Ijalaye as REC.
After Buhari sworn-in the two them in Abuja yesterday, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at a meeting to welcome six new National Commissioners and to swear-in the new Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), held at the INEC Conference Room, Abuja, on Wednesday 23rd February 2022, urged them to bring their experiences into the commission.
“Similarly, a new Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) has just been sworn-in. He is Olaniyi Olaleye Babalola Ijalaye, a legal practitioner. He fills the vacancy for Ondo State following the swearing-in of Mr. Sam Olumekun as a National Commissioner.”
Below is the full speech of Prof Yakubu;
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at a meeting to welcome six new National Commissioners and to swear-in a Resident Electoral Commissioner(REC), held at the INEC Conference Room, Abuja, on Wednesday 23rd February 2022
Honourable National Commissioners Family Members and Friends of the new National Commissioners Family Members and Friends of the new Resident Electoral Commissioner The Secretary to the Commission Other Senior Officials of the Commission, Members of the INEC Press Corps, Ladies and Gentlemen;
1.It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this occasion. Earlier today, six National Commissioners were sworn-in by the President. Four of them are not new to the Commission. Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, a lawyer, and Malam Mohammed Haruna, a journalist, have been re-appointed to serve for a second term. Mr. Sam Olumekun, a retired civil servant, has served for two terms as Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in many States, including Lagos while Mr. Kenneth Nnamdi Ukeagu has been a career staff of the Commission, rising to the rank of Director.
The other two National Commissioners are Mrs. Rhoda Gumus, a Professor of Engineering, and Modibbo Abubakar Alkali, a retired Major General of the Nigerian Army. They bring to the Commission their cumulative experiences in diverse fields that will no doubt strengthen the work of the Commission for the reform of the electoral process and the conduct of free, fair and credible elections. With your appointment, the Commission now has the full compliment of 12 National Commissioners.
2.Similarly, a new Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) has just been sworn-in. He is Olaniyi Olaleye Babalola Ijalaye, a legal practitioner. He fills the vacancy for Ondo State following the swearing-in of Mr. Sam Olumekun as a National Commissioner.
In line with the Commission’s policy, Mr. Ijalaye is hereby deployed to Ogun State as the new REC. The current REC for Ogun State, Mr. Olusegun Agbaje, is redeployed to Lagos State. Handing and taking over is to be concluded by Monday 28th February 2022.
3.As I welcome the new Commissioners, I urge you to deploy your vast knowledge and diverse experiences to the service of the country as unbiased referees. I am confident that you will join us in further extending the frontiers of free and fair elections in Nigeria. As I told the last set of Commissioners shortly after they were sworn-in five months ago on Wednesday 15th September 2021, our success in this arduous task draws largely from our integrity as election managers.
We must be strict in the application of the law, firm in handling the public trust bestowed in us and fair in our dealings with political parties, candidates and other stakeholders and all Nigerians. In discharging our enormous responsibilities, we must abide by our oaths of office. We must continue to defend the choice made by Nigerians at the polls by protecting the sanctity of the vote without which the value of democratic election is diminished.
4.You are coming on board just three days to the conduct of six bye-elections to fill vacancies in three Federal and three State constituencies in Cross River, Imo, Ondo and Plateau States. The reality today is that there is no election season in Nigeria any longer.
Elections are conducted all-year round by the Commission. In addition to the six bye-elections holding this weekend, there are three pending bye-elections in Zamfara State (Shinkafi and Gusau I State Constituencies) and Kaduna State (Giwa West State Constituency). In addition, we are right now preparing for two off-cycle Governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States scheduled for 18th June 2022 and 16th July 2022 respectively as well as the 2023 General Election.
5.Before I conclude, let me draw the attention of the new National and Resident Electoral Commissioners to the reality of serving in INEC. The task ahead is challenging. It is important therefore to quickly settle in and familiarize yourselves with the rules, procedures and responsibilities of your office. I have no doubt that we will continue to raise the bar of credible elections in Nigeria.
6.Thank you and may God continue to bless our efforts.