Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has asked Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to be firm and courageous in carrying out their assignments.
Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who gave the charge while swearing in seven new RECs expressed confidence that the new commissioners would contribute to the commissionâ€™s determination to make 2019 general election the best in the country.
With the swearing-in of the seven new commissioners, the total number of serving RECs in the commission is now to 33.
He said: â€œWith the track records of service in the academia, public service and private sector, it is gratifying to note that the new RECs made positive contributions to the society in various ways.
â€œI am equally delighted to note that some of you have managed elections at national level as RECs.
â€œI am confident that you will bring to bear on your new assignments, the experience of the recent past that will contribute to our determination to make the 2019 general election our best elections in Nigeria.â€
Yakubu advised the new commissioners to maintain openness and consultations as well as be firm and courageous in carrying out their new assignments.
The chairman explaining that in addition to the Ekiti and Osun States governorship elections, the commission would conduct four bye-elections this year to fill vacancies.
These, according to him, include Takum state constituency in Taraba; Lokoja/Koton-Karfe federal constituency in Kogi; Bauchi South senatorial district, and Kastina North senatorial district in Kastina State.
Yakubu reassured newly registered voters in the ongoing nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) of getting their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) before the 2019 general election.
â€œWe have consistently reassured the public that for those who registered in 2017, their PVCs would be available for collection in the first week of May 2018.
â€œThose who registered in the first quarter of this year, between January and March, as well as those who are registering now in the second quarter of this year, they would collect their cards thereafter,â€ he said.
For those who registered in Ekiti and Osun State in 2017 and 2018, Yakubu said priority attention will be given to the production of their PVCs, adding that all the cards would be available ahead of the July 14 and September 22 governorship elections.
Speaking on behalf of the new RECs, Mr. Segun Agbaje, representing Ekiti State, pledged the new commissionersâ€™ readiness to justify the confidence reposed in them.
The new RECs are: Mr. Baba Yusuf and Mr. Segun Agbaje, representing Borno and Ekiti States for second term.
Others are Dr. Uthman Ajidagba, Kwara; Yahaya Bello, Nasarawa State; Dr Emmanuel Hart, Rivers State; Mohammed Ibrahim, Gombe State, and Dr. Cyril Omorogbe, Edo State.