Wednesday, 16 August 2017


1.         A few weeks ago, I had the honour to swear-in fourteen Resident Electoral Commissioners. Today, nine (9) more Commissioners have just been sworn-in, bringing the total to twenty-three (23). Out of the 9 Commissioners, five (5) have been reappointed for a second and final term while the remaining four (4) are new appointments.

2.         I congratulate you on your appointment. At the same time, I wish to draw your attention to the task ahead. As you are already aware, the Commission has fixed the date for the next General Elections. The Presidential and National Assembly elections will hold on Saturday 16th February 2019 while Governorship, State Assembly and Area Council elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) will hold two weeks later on Saturday   2nd March 2019. It means that from today, we have exactly 548 days to the General Elections. It is important to always remind yourselves of this date and to be tracking and appraising our preparations.

3.         You are therefore coming at a very auspicious time. I wish to reiterate our commitment to Nigerians that the 2019 General Elections will be a remarkable improvement on the acclaimed success of the last General Elections. Going by the outcome of recent elections conducted by INEC, it is clear that votes count and will continue to be the sole determinant of the outcome of elections. We shall continue to uphold the sanctity of citizens’ choice as the only basis for determining elective representation in Nigeria.

4.         You are fortunate to assume duty just after the conclusion of the Commission’s Strategic Plan 2017-2021. In terms of strategic planning, we are prepared for 2019. Furthermore, we are already taking practical steps towards actualising the Strategic Plan. The complimentary document, the Election Project Plan, is almost ready. Very soon, the Election Management System that will enable us track activities almost on daily basis will be ready.

5.         As Resident Electoral Commissioners, you will be responsible for the implementation of the plan. In doing so, you will also exercise supervisory control over personnel, resources as well as legal and administrative processes in the States to which you are posted. You will also interact with various categories of stakeholders, including partisan actors. As election managers, you must maintain the required openness and consultation. At the same time, you must be very firm and courageous on the side of the law as well as our regulations and guidelines as required of you as unbiased umpire. Be fair to all, partisan to none.

6.         As I told the first set of new Resident Electoral Commissioners a few weeks ago, you can also be posted to any part of the country at anytime the exigencies of service require such deployment. For now, you will be posted to States within your geo-political zones but none of you will ever serve in his or her State of origin throughout your tenure.

7.         Your work in INEC begins in earnest. Over the next few months, the Commission will be conducting four (4) elections in quick succession. The Dukku North State Constituency by-election in Gombe State is holding this weekend to be followed by the Eti Osa I State Constituency in Lagos State and Kware/Wamakko Federal Constituency in Sokoto State. Already, the end of tenure Governorship election in Anambra State has been scheduled to hold on 18th November. I wish to put you on notice that some of you, especially the new appointees, will be deployed to these elections for immediate field orientation.

8.         As you are aware, the Commission has embarked upon the continuous voter registration exercise nationwide. For the first time in the history of the Commission, citizens who have attained the age of 18 years and those who could not register before the last General Election now have the opportunity to do so on a continuous basis as envisaged by the Electoral Act. The exercise is conducted at the Local Government level on quarterly basis. At the end of the first quarter of the exercise, some 1,810,153 citizens were registered. The exercise is now in the second week of the second quarter and already some 282,281 citizens have been registered, making a total of 2,092,434 new registrants so far.

9.         In Anambra State in particular, the registration has been devolved to Ward level in view of the forthcoming Governorship election consistent with the Commission’s practice. As part of the Commission’s continuing improvement of the electoral process, we have introduced a new innovation in voter registration in Anambra State which will in due course be extended nationwide using our newly acquired Direct Data Capturing Machines (DDCMs). Data is now collected on Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) categorised by gender and type of disability. This will help us in planning access to polling units and such other support on election day as persons with special needs and advocates of more inclusiveness in our democracy have demanded of the Commission for sometime.

10.       I want to assure all Nigerians that we shall continue to discharge our responsibilities conscientiously according to the law. On Friday last week, we received a petition for the recall of the member representing Bebeji Constituency in the Kano State House of Assembly. We have since written the petitioners’ representatives acknowledging receipt of the petition. We have also informed the member concerned of the petition. In line with our guidelines, the timetable and schedule of activities for the recall will be released on Monday next week.

11.       Similarly, the Commission has, by order of court, yesterday issued Certificate of Registration to the African People’s Party (APP) which originally applied for registration as a political party three years ago in 2014. With this development, the number of political parties in Nigeria now stands at forty-six (46).

12.       Finally, I want to appreciate the presence and continuing support of the National Assembly, the political parties, the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, Civil Society Organisations and the media. This level of support gives us confidence that INEC and all the stakeholders are on the same page in the collective responsibility of consolidating our democracy.

13.       I thank you all and God bless.

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