There seems to be uncertainty in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the possible replacement of six national commissioners by President Muhammadu Buhari, IgbereTV reports.
It was gathered that by the first week of December, five INEC national commissioners would retire from the service. They are national commissioners representing the South East, South-South, North East, North Central, and South West, and if replacements are not appointed, the regions would be unrepresented in the Commission.
Already there had been a vacuum created as a result of the absence of one of the national commissioners, Engr. Abu Bakar Nahuche , who resigned after the 2019 general elections.
While officials of INEC have expressed optimism that the President will sign into law the Electoral Act Amendment Bill which has been transmitted to him by the National Assembly, they are however worried that the appointment of people with partisan inclination may scuttle ongoing work at the Commission.
Sources at INEC headquarters had hinted that as from the first week of December, only five national commissioners will be left after five of them must have bowed out from service instead of a 12-member board.
Though, many insiders have commended President Buhari for his determination to ensure that the 2023 general elections is credible but they are concerned that the efforts of the President would amount to nothing if men of proven integrity are not appointed into the commission to replace the retiring ones.
According to the sources, “The President has promised that the 2023 elections will be credible, free, and fair and there is no doubt that he means what he has said.
“You can see that the Edo and Anambra states off-season elections have been applauded by Nigerians and the international community as being credible.
“We hope that the trajectory will continue but everything will depend on the type and quality of people he will appoint as national commissioners to fill the vacant positions.
“The efforts of the president in strengthening the institution was nearly rubbished by the nomination of one of his aide’s Ms. Lauretta Onochie, but the situation was redeemed by the National Assembly that rejected the nomination as a result of national outcry