•Like Madam Zakari, INEC REC in Kogi remains in office beyond tenure
•Why Nigerians must compel FG to obey the Constitution
By Jide Ajani
Perhaps, because the more vocal sector of Nigeria’s civil society has been co-opted into the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, Federal Government, there is a creeping danger into Nigeria’s electoral system as President Muhammad Buhari has serially refused to obey the provisions of the 1999 Constitution regarding the composition of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the same body that was reformed and structured to deliver an election that ironically brought him to power.
In the latest in a long series by Sunday Vanguard, it has been discovered that the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, for Kogi State, appointed on December 16, 2010, and whose tenure should have ended on December 16, 2015, is still sitting pretty in office. Either because of an oversight, or a deliberate base appeal to primal and ethane-religious considerations, or both, Hussaini Halilu Pai, is still in office over 39 days after the expiration of his tenure. This, at a time when the statutory 13-member Commission is not in place, leading to half-baked and sometimes confusing policy statements from INEC. This report will show the danger in what President Buhari is doing and why men and women of goodwill must guide him appropriately before Nigeria’s electoral system (of which he is a major beneficiary) is sent to the dogs.
Hussaini Halilu Pai, appointed December 16, 2010, and was expected to have finished his tenure by December 16, 2015, is still in office as Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, for Kogi State. Mind you, that was the state where the controversial governorship election produced an outcome that has confounded even the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He hails from the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja. Vanguard’s Boluwaji Obahopo, correspondent in Kogi State, upon inquiry from Kogi State office of INEC last Friday, confirmed authoritatively that Halilu Pai was still in office operating as REC for Kogi State.
Two others, Dr. Kwanga Godwin M., from Benue State, and Mr. Akinyemi Orebiyi, from Ogun State, who were also appointed on the same date of December 16, 2010, have since left the employ of INEC and moved on.
The question is, why is President Muhammad Buhari still keeping Hallilu Pai in office some 39days since the expiration of his tenure?
Perhaps, it is traditional with the emerging realities of the modus operandi of Mr. President in his appreciation of the fundamentality of the electoral process as a critical bastion of democracy which is expected to lead to good governance.