Mike Igini, Resident Electoral Commissioner, Akwa Ibom
With the clock ticking for the conduct of the 2023 General Elections in Nigeria, one important top official of the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) whom Nigerians will miss his expertise in the handling of critical elections in violence-prone states in the country is Barrister Mike Igini, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC).
The present Akwa Ibom state REC’s 12 years tour of duty will end before the end of 2022, a situation which will ensure that his huge experience in the management of election duties will definitely be missed by both INEC and the nation in general.
Speaking on Channels Television breakfast programme Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, the fire-brand INEC top officer confirmed that he will exit INEC before the 2023 General Elections.
Said he: “In life whatever has a beginning must have an end. Yes, I will leave INEC before December. I have played my part and others will takeover from there. INEC has capable hands to deliver on its core mandates”.
Asked what he will fall back on when he leaves his position as REC, he said he is trained as a lawyer and will return to law practice which he said was his first love.
“Of course, if I leave INEC job before the end of the year, I will return to my law practice. Unlike some people, I am a man with a fixed address. Yes, my address is there for people to see. I am a lawyer and will return to my Chambers”.
Recall that the unwillingness of the federal government to reappoint or elevate REC Igini to the position of National Commissioner after a meritorious service to the Commission during the last nomination and confirmation of INEC Commissioners have left Nigerians perplexed.
For this reason, there have been palpable disaffection and serious concerns in the Commission, with many Nigerians fearing
that preparations for the 2023 General Elections may not command public confidence, transparent and credible as promised by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Prompt News reports that following the exit of experienced INEC Commissioners viewed to have proven records of integrity and consistency, Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and prominent Nigerians are querying the rationale behind not reappointing experienced hands in elections management in INEC.
Aside Igini who have served as REC of Cross River, Edo and Akwa Ibom states, other top notch RECs and National Commissioners seen by Nigerians as having huge civil society background and proven integrity who are in the same boat with Igini include the recently retired National Commissioners, Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu; AVM Ahmed Tijani Mu’azu (Rtd) and Abubakar Ahmed Nahuche who resigned after the 2019 General Elections given what he experienced on the field and possible concerns over what he sees coming ahead in 2023.