By Victoria Ojeme
President Muhammadu Buhari has again hit the bull’s-eye preparatory to the 2023 general elections with the appointment of an election logistics strategist, Mr. Kenneth Ukeagu, as INEC National Commissioner.
The president has also set a precedent with the appointment as it was the first time an INEC employee would be appointed into the exalted position.
Commenting on the appointment, Alhaji Aminu Alkali, Chairman of the National Integration Forum (NIF), a political pressure group, observed that the appointment was not consequent on political exigency but based purely on experience and due diligence.
Alkali said Ukeagu had gathered adequate experience in his 30 years stint at INEC most of which he spent in organising logistics for elections till he became the Director of Procurement.
“Ukeagu’s appointment is unique being the first member of staff or an insider to be so appointed by any president; President Buhari needs to be commended for the innovation, sense of judgment, and the futuristic reforms in the commission,’’ he said.
“This appointment is a further step taken to discourage corruption in electoral system as well as a step taken in the president’s usual manner of refining the system.’’
Also commenting on the appointment, Mr. Hakim Afolabi of the Centre for Transparency and Accountability, said “It was not made to deny or diminish any state or region of their slots but based on national interest which sometimes should be injected and blended into critical institutions.’’
“I see the appointee making critical and substantial inputs into the electoral process because of his institutional experience.
“President Buhari has thus set a precedent in the history of the Commission, a goal which no one can fault.
“This is hope rising for other employees and an energiser for more commitment, honesty, hard work, integrity. It is now in the mind that there is brighter future and not vain toil.’’
“Ken’, as he is popularly known, will not be required to go through the ropes on the job because he is in his original turf. Time is of essence because elections are here.
“NASS should regard this appointment as dramatic injection of reforms and an encouragement that would give birth to a better tomorrow.
“It is a blow to mediocrity that had dogged the Commission and the political landscape in the past.’’