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2019 Elections: INEC swears in new secretary

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Thursday, sworn in Rose Orianran-Anthony as its new secretary. The swearing-in ceremony of the new Secretary to the Commission was held at the Conference Room, INEC Head Quarters in Abuja.

Orianran-Anthony’s appointment was earlier announced in a statement by the national commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye on December 6. “The Independent National Electoral Commission at its weekly regular meeting held today has approved the appointment of Mrs. Rose Orianran-Anthony as Secretary to the Commission for a four-year term with effect from 6th December 2018,” Okoye said. Orianran-Anthony hails from Edo State, holds a degree in Language Arts from Ahmadu Bello University and a Master’s degree in Public Communications and Public Relations from the University of Westminster, London.

She has spent 28 years at the commission, serving in various capacities including as public affairs officer, INEC website content manager and head of civil society liaison, before her promotion as director and subsequent posting as administrative secretary in Delta state.

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has vowed not to tolerate the complicity of its staff with political actors or their agents to subvert the electoral process in the forthcoming elections.

The commission declared that its officials must remain neutral in the discharge of their duties and must be committed to protecting the sanctity of the process.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this yesterday at the swearing-in of the new Secretary of the commission, Mrs. Rose Oriaran-Anthony, where he also described the application by support groups of candidates contesting the 2019 general elections as election observers as unacceptable.

According to him, “As we approach the 2019 general elections, the commission will pay attention to the conduct of our own officials from the headquarters to the state and local government areas, including adhoc staff engaged in or their agents to subvert the electoral process.”

Yakubu asserted: “We will not tolerate the complicity of staff with political actors or their agents to subvert the electoral process. All officials of the commission must remain neutral in the discharge of their duties and committed to protecting the sanctity of the process.

“Similarly, for the 2019 general elections, the commission has been inundated with applications from several groups in the country for accreditation to observe 2019 elections, including support groups of candidates contesting in the elections. This is unacceptable.”

The chairman stressed that observers are neutral groups interested only in the process and not agents of political parties, candidates or campaign organisations.

Furthermore he explained that the purpose of accrediting observers for elections was a noble one and intended to increase the transparency and openness of the process, noting that the reports of observers also serve as useful feedback mechanism for strengthening the electoral process band produces.

Yakubu stated: “It is therefore counter-productive for such an important process to become an all-comers business. Going forward, the commission has revised the guidelines for the accreditation of observers. Interested organisations are required to apply to the commission.”

According to him, details would be published this weekend and early next week in national newspapers and on the commission’s website.

Yakubu said that the commission has confidence in the ability of the newly appointed secretary to bring her tremendous desk and field experiences to bear on her new responsibilities.

In her remarks, Oriaran-Anthony said she viewed her appointment at this critical time when the commission is deep in preparations for 2019 elections as a call to duty with heavy responsibility anchored on extreme hardwork in providing leadership to the commission’s bureaucracy for improved service delivery.

She noted that working with colleagues in their various capacities would bequeath a workforce that is professional, innovative, nonpartisan and loyal.

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