INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu and President Muhammadu Buhari
Activities towards the 2023 general elections are under threat of paralysis in at least 20 states as the resident electoral officers (RECs) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) reach the end of their five-year tenures.
The tenures of 11 of the RECs came to an end on July 6, nine others are due for retirement next month, while one quit in April to join partisan politics.
Those already out include Orji Nkwachukwu (Anambra); Emeka Ononamadu (Enugu); Obo Effanga (Rivers); Chukwuemeka Ezeonu (Imo); Joseph Iloh (Abia) and Mutiu Agboke (Oyo).
Others are James Apam (Kogi); Ibrahim Abdullahi (Bauchi); Umar Ibrahim (Gombe) Ahmed Makama (Taraba) and Hussaini Pai (Plateau).
However, apart from Mr Pai who has served out his second and final term, the other 10 of these RECs have only served a term and can be re-appointed for a second term.
Similarly, on August 17, the tenures of eight other RECs will also come to an end.
These are Asmau Maikudi; Riskuwa Shehu; Kassim Geidam (Adamawa); Jibrin Zarewa (Katsina); Abdulganiyu Raji; Samuel Egwu; Mike Igini (Akwa Ibom); and Sadiq Musa (Sokoto).
From this batch, those who are on second term and ineligible for re-appointment are Mr Geidam of Adamawa; Mr Zarewa of Katsina; Mr Igini of Akwa Ibom and Mr Musa (Sokoto).
In addition, Yilwatda Goshwe of Benue State resigned last year to join partisan politics.
The effect of this is that with six months to general election, 20 states will be without RECs, with dire implications on the elections.
The approvals of certain requests under the continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise, which are exclusive to RECs, may suffer a setback in those states.
These approvals include requests for transfer of polling units and correction of names and other information of registrants.
RECs also chair the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in the states, co-chaired by the state commissioner of police.
President Muhammadu Buhari, whose duty it is to appoint the officials for confirmation by the Senate, is yet to do so, a development that has caused anxieties at INEC as the commission prepares for the general elections.
New RECs are normally appointed before the tenure of the incumbents expire to avoid vacuum in the system and ensure seamless transition in the states. Mr Buhari failed to act as expected.
The president may reappoint those available for re-appointment to avoid the challenges of new hands grappling with the new role few months to the elections.
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Bisi Abidoye is the assistant managing editor for standards at PREMIUM TIMES Twitter: @bisiabidoye
All content is Copyrighted © 2022 The Premium Times, Nigeria
All content is Copyrighted © 2022 The Premium Times, Nigeria

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