President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated six newly-appointed national commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The inauguration ceremony took place at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja shortly before the commencement of the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting today.
The commissioners are as follows, Ogunmola Ladipo – South West; May Agbamuche-Mbu – South South; Abubakar Nahuche, North West; Okechukwu Ibeano, South East; Muhammadu Haruna, North Central and Ahmad Muazu, North East.
President Buhari charged them to be up and doing in the discharge of their responsibilities, noting that their appointments came at a critical time in the nation’s political development.
He said his administration was concerned about the integrity of Nigeria’s electoral process, adding that it was his desire to ensure that Nigerians are allowed to elect their leaders according to their conscience.
The inauguration of the six INEC commissioners brings the number of commissioners to 12 as stipulated by relevant laws; however, 21 out of 37 Resident Electoral Commissioners are yet to be appointed.
Recall that six INEC commissioners had retired shortly after the 2015 general election and their positions had remained vacant prompting criticism from various political analysts.
Former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, at a town hall meeting and presentation of the findings of a post- 2015 elections research conducted by ActionAid Nigeria, said that the 2019 general election may be jeopardized if the situation continued.
“There is absolutely no reason why the executive should allow the number of vacancies we have in INEC to be,” Odinkalu said at the forum.
“By next month, INEC will have 28 vacancies among RECs (Resident Electoral Commissioners) and seven commissioners.
“The Executive is carrying on as if this is normal. It isn’t.
“I’m sorry to sound alarmist. But, continuing the way we are going, we will not be able to have elections in 2019. If it happens, there would be too many broken heads and dead people,” he said.