Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stripped the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Cross River State, Dr. Frankland Briyai of all powers functions and privileges vested on him by the electoral umpire of the country for allegedly breaching the Code of Conduct which stipulates neutrality in politics and declaring to contest in the Bayelsa State governorship race.
Reacting to the incident, INEC Director of Voter Education, Mr. Festus Okoye, said they were yet to receive the purported resignation letter of Briyai, adding that he did not follow laid down procedures for resignation.
Okoye who in a statement described the action of the REC as an abuse of office said, “Following his actions and based on the Constitution, the Commission has withdrawn all powers and functions delegated to Briyai as Resident Electoral Commissioner.”
In an apparent reference to the declaration of interest to run for the office, the statement continued, “Although this was done at the Commission’s Cross River State office in Calabar, the Commission is yet to receive any communication on this from Dr. Briyai.
“The Commission strongly frowns at the REC’s expression of partisan interest. We note that the Constitution precludes National and Resident Electoral Commissioners from belonging to Political Parties.
Also the use of INEC premises and facilities for such declaration or for any political purpose is unlawful and contrary to the Code of Conduct subscribed to by all INEC officials.
“Dr. Briyai failed to follow laid down procedure for resignation as REC. Section 306 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) provides that the resignation of such appointment takes effect on receipt of the letter of resignation by the appointing authority in this case the President.
“We are not aware that he has tendered his resignation to the appointing authority and the Commission has not received any resignation letter as he claimed.
“Consequently, the Administrative Secretary of INEC Cross River State has been directed to oversee the office and take over the functions and duties of the REC until further notice,” INEC said.
Following the position of INEC on the matter, it said it was rejecting any resignation from Briyai though it was not yet in possession of any such document.
Briyai, who resigned to contest the Bayelsa State governorship elections on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) caused a stir as workers of the electoral umpire are supposed to be neutral and not belong to any political party.
Briyai Thursday addressed the media stating that he had resigned his position as REC with effect from 8th August 2019 and joined the APC on whose platform he intended to contest the November 16, 2019 Governorship Election in Bayelsa State.