Ahead of the 2015 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has redeployed its Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in the 36 states of the federation and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. As has been the norm, each REC has been posted to a state other than his state of origin but within his geopolitical zone.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Anambra State, Prof. Chukwuemeka Onukaogu has been sent to Enugu State; Mr Mike Igini, Cross River REC is now in charge of Edo State; Resident Electoral Commissioner, Niger State, Dr Emmanuel Onucheyo has been redeployed to Kwara State while a one time Resident Electoral Commissioner in Delta State, Dr Gabriel Ada has been moved to Imo State.
Others who have been redeployed and their new states include: Baba Abba Yusuf- Adamawa, Prof. Tukur Sa’ad – Bauchi; Ahmad Makama- Taraba; Selina Omagha Oko- Abia , Edwin Offor; Nwatarali- AnambraSadiq Abubakar Musa- Sokoto, Jibrin Ibrahim Zarewa- Kebbi; Hussaini Ahmed Mahuta- Kaduna; Abubakar Umar Wara- Zamfara; Rufus Akeju- Oyo and Abdullahi.
Others are Umar Danyaya- Nasarawa; Timothy Ibitoye- Ogun; Barito Lenusikpugi Kphagih- Bayelsa; Haliru Tambawel- Jigawa ; Kassim Gana Geidam- Gombe ; Ibrahim Bagobiri Marafa – Katsina; Aniedi Ikoiwak – Delta; Habu Zarma- Yobe; Akin Orebiyi- Lagos and Hussaini Halilu Pai- Kogi The rest are Kwanga Godwin Mbatsavbee- Plateau, Sylvester Okey Ezeani – Cross River; Lawrence.
Azubuike – Ebonyi; Sam Olugbadebo Olumekun – Ekiti; Minkaila Abdullahi – Kano Austin Okogie – Akwa Ibom, Segun Agbaje- Ondo; Nasir Ayilara- Niger # Istifanus Dafwang- Benue; Gesila Khan -Rivers #Samuel Madaki –Borno and Jacob Jatau – FCT Although the commission did not give any reason for the redeployment, Sunday New Telegraph gathered that the change of guards across the states was part of the preparations by the Commission for the forthcoming polls. According to the time table earlier released by INEC the 2015 presidential and National Assembly election will hold on February 14 while February 28 has been set aside for the governorship and state assembly elections.
The re- deployment which was conveyed in a letter marked INEC/SEC/402/ VOLIII/312 and addressed to all RECs directed the electoral chiefs to conclude all handing and taking over formalities by Wednesday, December 31, 2014. Secretary to the Commission, Mrs Augusta Ogakwu, who signed the letter congratulated the RECs on their new postings which she said has been approved by the Commission.
New Telegraph learnt that redeployments ahead of crucial elections has become a tradition in INEC designed to enhance neutrality and impartiality of the electoral umpire. A source at the Commission described it as a “routine exercise” to create a level playing field and forestall possible manipulations by some RECs who might have served too long in a particular state.
“You know, election is a highly sensitive exercise and the Commission will not want to leave anything to chance.
Some of these RECs have served in these states since the last general elections and may have become stakeholders in these places. So, it is better to reshuffle them and put everyone on his or her toes for the next assignment which is less than too months away,” he said.