Newly Appointed REC From Akwa Ibom Won’t Be Sworn In Now — INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), has said the newly appointed Resident Electoral Commission (REC) from Akwa Ibom State, Etekamba Umoren, will not be sworn in until the tenure of the current REC from the state, Monday Udo-Tom, expires in January.
INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education, Sam Olumekun, and the spokesperson to the INEC Chairperson, Rotimi Oyekanmi, disclosed this to PREMIUM TIMES in separate responses Friday and Saturday.
Mr Olumekun corroborated Mr Oyekanmi when he said: “The new REC can only assume duties after the expiration of the tenure of the current REC whose term expires later,” Mr Olumekun said.
Earlier on Friday, Mr Oyekanmi said it would be unusual for two RECs from the same state of origin to serve at the same time.
He then sent a further clarification that the tenure of the newly appointed REC from Akwa Ibom would only take effect after the tenure of the current one ends in January next year.
“The tenure of the current REC from Akwa Ibom State will expire in January next year. The tenure of the new REC from the same Akwa Ibom State will only take effect after the end of the tenure of the current one,” he said in a text to our reporter.
Mr Oyekanmi added that the current appointment of RECs ahead of the expiration of the other’s tenure could be a good precedent.
“With the benefit of hindsight, this is actually good practice,” he said on Saturday. “It is better to have a REC-in-waiting than to allow a reigning REC’s tenure to expire before scrambling to appoint a new one.”
Two years ago, the 9th Senate Committee on INEC stepped down the nomination of Lauretta Onochie as INEC national commissioner from Delta State on the grounds that there was no vacancy for the role as of the time of her nomination.
Tinubu’s illegal REC appointments
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how President Bola Tinubu goofed with the appointment of Mr Umoren as REC from Akwa Ibom state when the current REC from the state, Mr Udo-Tom has at least three months to the end of his five-year tenure. Mr Udo-Tom currently serves as the Delta State REC as INEC regulations don’t allow RECs and National Commissioners to serve in their states of origin.
This newspaper also found that Mr Umoren’s nomination and subsequent confirmation by the Senate was illegal as he was a member of Mr Tinubu’s political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a long-time ally and loyalist of the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio.
This is contrary to Paragraph 14, Item F of the third Schedule of the 1999 constitution which specifically dictates that partisan persons shall not be appointed to the electoral commission.
Yet, Mr Tinubu and the 10th Senate under Godswill Akpabio defied the constitutional provisions to nominate and confirm Mr Umoren and Isah Shaka, the REC from Edo State.
Two other RECs, Bunmi Omoseyindemi (Lagos) and Anugbum Onuoha (Rivers), are found to be long-term allies of Mr Tinubu and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike.