By Ben Agande
ABUJAâ€”THE National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, yesterday, ordered resident electoral commissioners not to accept any form of assistance from state governments as doing so would compromise their independence.
Jega who was swearing in new resident electoral commissioners at the INEC headquarters, said as the commission moved towards the conduct of the next general elections, there was need for a “reflection on our past practices so as to learn from them,” noting that even when assistance were freely offered by state governments, â€œapproval for accepting such assistance must be obtained from the commission.â€
He told the resident electoral commissioners: â€œReports reaching the commission indicate that there is a need for caution in the relationship between Resident Electoral Commissioners and state governments.
â€œThe practice by some RECs in the recent past of going cap-in-hand to state governments for assistance is to be discouraged because it is capable of undermining your independence. RECs are advised to get in touch with the national headquarters to address whatever problems they may face.
Even in instances where financial assistance is freely offered as is done to other federal agencies, approval for accepting such assistance must be obtained from the commission. You will agree with me that such measures are essential in ensuring confidence in your work.â€
The INEC chairman noted that the conduct of credible elections in the country was feasible and urged the RECs to do their best in achieving the objective.
On the Voters Register, Jega said: â€œThe success of this exercise would depend on the RECsâ€ adding that they should make serious assessment of their operational readiness and capabilities at the state and local government offices for this exercise, and for subsequent on as we move towards the election.
He urged them to work together in harmony to satisfy the yearnings of Nigerians for a credible, free and fair elections, adding: â€œLet us conduct our affairs responsibly, with honesty, integrity and impartiality.â€
New INEC commissioners named
Meantime, President Goodluck Jonathan has submitted names of two more commissioners for the Independent National Electoral Commission to replace those earlier dropped because of their membership of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Similarly, the President also submitted the names of Justices of the Court of Appeal for confirmation as Justices of the Supreme Court.
Those nominated for confirmation as commissioners in the Independent National Electoral Commission are Ambassador Mohammed Ahmed Wali, Northwest, and Dr Christopher Okubai Morgan, North Central.
President Goodluck said the appointees were â€œsuitable replacement for confirmation by the distinguished Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.â€
Nominations for Supreme Court justices
Those nominated for appointment as Supreme Court justices are Justice S. Galadima, North Central Zone, Justice of Court of Appeal, and Justice B. Rose Vivour, South West Zone, Justice of Court of Appeal.
President Jonathan in his letter said their appointments were in conformity with Section 231 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic which gives the President powers to appoint a justice of the Supreme Court acting on recommendations of the National Judicial Commission, NJC, and subject to confirmation by the Senate.
According to the President, â€œthese appointments have been necessitated by the recent retirements from the service of Justice I.L. Kutigi, North Central Zone, and Justice B.O. Aderemi, South West Zone.â€