Barring any last minute change, five Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) might be redeployed.
The planned changes, according to a source, are expected to be effected before this Saturday’s governorship and Houses of Assembly polls.
A top staff of INEC confided in Daily Sun that chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has been resisting pressure from some people spearheading the planned changes.
The source further revealed that the five states, whose RECs might be redeployed are Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Imo, Plateau and Benue.
Explaining further, the source revealed: “The chairman of INEC has been under serious pressure. This was even before the presidential election. Some people in government, both at the state and federal levels, are mounting pressure on him to effect some changes and remove some RECs.
“The chairman has resisted. But some of us are worried that he may soon cave in and change some of these commissioners before this Saturday’s elections. We have advised him not to go ahead, but as you know, he has the final say when it comes to issues like this.
“The chairman is also careful not to be seen as doing the bidding of APC or any political party. If he goes ahead and remove these commissioners and some political parties don’t win elections, they will accuse the INEC chairman of taking sides.
“This is the development and I think Nigerians deserve to know. The polity is also charged and this planned removal will further divide us. After elections, Nigeria will still exist. This is why we are kicking against this development.”
However, INEC has claimed that it is not aware of any plans to redeploy state commissioners. The Commission, however, revealed that it will investigate petitions filed against RECs by aggrieved politicians.
National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voters’ Education, Mr. Festus Okoye, in a telephone interview with Daily Sun, said the Commission was yet to discuss any plans to effect any changes before Saturday’s elections.
“We cannot remove any commissioner because a politician has said so. I am not aware that there are plans to change any RECs. But what I know is that such an issue will be discussed by the Commission. We are yet to have that discussion.
“Beside, it doesn’t make sense to change a state commissioner when he has already taken delivery of voting materials. Like I said earlier, my position is that, I am not aware.”