Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, has vowed to clear the backlog of all promotions before the expiration of his tenure.
Jega’s tenure ends at the end of the month and he has said he is not seeking re-appointment.
The INEC Chairman who declared this at a retreat for Administrative Secretaries and Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) at the Le Meridien Hotel, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, last week ruled out the prospect of any “automatic promotion.”
Prof. Jega disclosed that states, which did not create or activate Registration Area Centres (RACs) during the last general election would be directed to account for their inability.
He warned about reverting to what obtained in the past where Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and Electoral Officers (EOs) returned election outcomes, insisting that by appointing Returning Officers outside INEC, “remarkable improvement was brought to the process.”
He observed that the strain on RECs and EOs during elections was too much and further saddling them with the task of returning election outcomes tended to make them prone to mistakes.
He said: “The strain is too much. They are not superhuman and they will make mistakes.”
He expressed delight that most of the Returning Officers appointed by the Commission in the 2011 and 2015 General Elections were above board.
He further observed that the retreat made a number of brilliant suggestions, which when taken on board by the next Commission, would remarkably improve the electoral process.
Jega: We’ve Laid Good Foundation for Others to Build On
In what passed for a valedictory speech, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Jega, has also said the Commission under his watch had laid a good foundation on which subsequent commissions could build on.
Speaking at a gala night organized for outgoing Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) at the Le Meridien Hotel, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Jega said he felt fulfilled with the outcome of the 2015 General Election, which conduct he said was appreciated by most Nigerians.
Jega was quick to acknowledge, however, that the brilliant performance of the Commission was attributed to the combined efforts of the management and staff who worked tirelessly and under difficult circumstances.
He attributed the success of the elections to the manner the management and staff worked and related like a family.
Though he said the task of electoral reforms had just begun, he asserted that “the foundation for good, continuous elections have been laid. Thank you for supporting me and working for the success we have achieved.”
Prof. Jega, who was effusive in thanking the staff, prayed that God should bless them. “I thank the staff for raising the bar, as you have given the best. May God give you the best in your life endeavours. May God Almighty continue to bless you.”
He said he felt privileged and honoured to lead people with tremendous integrity and intellectual ability. May God Almighty bless you for the five years of struggle.”
Barr Mike Igini who gave the vote of thanks at the occasion noted that Prof. Jega delivered on his promise to conduct free, fair and credible elections.
“Looking back, your team, working with you, conducted credible and acceptable elections, though not perfect,” Igini further noted.