INEC Wields Big Stick Against C/River REC

INEC Wields Big Stick Against C/River REC

…Fault Him for Violating its Code of Conduct …Directs Admin Secretary to take over Functions The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has asked the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Cross River State, Dr. Frankland Briyai to step aside for flouting its code of conduct.. Briyai had earlier announced his resignation on Thursday to contest the November

…Fault Him for Violating its Code of Conduct

…Directs Admin Secretary to take over Functions

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has asked the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Cross River State, Dr. Frankland Briyai to step aside for flouting its code of conduct..

Briyai had earlier announced his resignation on Thursday to contest the November 16 Bayelsa governorship election on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC)…

But INEC claimed it had not received his resignation letter.

A statement by INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, said it was wrong for Briyai to have used its facilities and office for political activities.

INEC directed its Administrative Secretary in Cross River State to oversee the office and take over the functions and duties of the REC until further notice.

The statement reads: “The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Cross River State of INEC, Dr. Frankland Briyai yesterday (Thursday) addressed the media to the effect that he has resigned his position as REC with effect from August 8 2019 and joined a political party on whose platform he intends to contest the November 16, 2019 governorship Election in Bayelsa State.

“Although this was done at the Commission’s Cross River State office in Calabar, the Commission is yet to receive any communication on this from Briyai.

“Section 306(2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states that the resignation of such appointment takes effect on receipt of the letter of resignation by the appointing authority – in this case, the President.

“While it is the right of any Commissioner or official of the Commission to resign his or her appointment and join any political party of his/her choice and to aspire for any office or position, INEC frowns at the use of its premises or facilities for any political purpose as this is unlawful and contrary to the Code of Conduct subscribed to by all its officials.

“Following his declaration, the Commission has relieved Briyai of his duties as a Resident Electoral Commissioner and withdrawn all powers delegated to him. Consequently, the Administrative Secretary of Cross River State has been directed to oversee the office and take over the functions and duties of the REC until further notice.”

Clarifying the statement by Okoye, its Director of Voter Education, Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said that the Commission does not have the power to sack the REC.

He explained that INEC could only delegate power, duties, and responsibilities, saying that was exactly what it did.

“I don’t think we have the power to sack a REC,” Mr Osaze-Uzzi said during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

He added: “The REC’s duty, powers, and responsibility have been delegated by the Commission. What the commission just have power to do is delegate his power, delegate his duty, delegate responsibility.

“In this particular case, we have withdrawn that delegated power such that Dr Brayai no longer functions as the REC of Cross River State. He has said he has even resigned anyway.”

Briyai who tendered his resignation letter on Thursday, at the INEC head office in Calabar, said his resignation was to enable him contest for the November 16th, 2019, gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa state.

He is seeking election to the State’s top job on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC).

Briyai said “youth groups from Bayelsa State, the Niger Delta Region, Northern and Eastern Nigeria, ECOWAS, Africa and the Commonwealth have been on the forefront of persuasion” for him to run for the plum office.

He added that the persuasion for him to contest the election is sign that has “the potentials and capacity to impact a remarkable change and lift Bayelsa State up to the next glorious level that would make it stand proudly amongst the great states in Nigeria.”

He said if elected, he would bring back the glory of all land to the oil-rich state.

“I appreciate their courage for recognising me as a worthy patriot and builder of peaceful society, both in Bayelsa State, the Niger Delta region, Nigeria, West Africa, Africa and the Commonwealth.

“As a progressive, I will identify with the very best of the progressive political parties, APC,” Dr. Briyai stated.

He however advised the people of Bayelsa to embrace peace, honour their esteemed franchise by not selling their votes during the gubernatorial election.

In a related development, the Federal High Court Ikoyi has granted bail to former INEC Chairman, Prof Maurice Iwu to the tune of N1 billion.

Iwu was arraigned on four counts of concealment, fraud and money laundering to the tune of N1.2bn.

In the charge, the EFCC alleged that Professor Iwu aided the concealment of the above sum between December 2014 and March 2015.

The money is believed to be part of the N23.29b slush funds allegedly shared by former Petroleum Minister, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential elections.

Professor Iwu, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges, and his lawyer, Ahmad Raji (SAN) asked the court to grant him bail on the grounds of self-recognizance and secondly on liberal terms.

The prosecution lawyer, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, on the other hand, said there was evidence of the possibility of the defendant intimidating or interfering with the witnesses if he was granted bail, and therefore, urged the court to use its discretion not to grant the bail.

After listening to both arguments, however, Justice Chuka Obiozor granted the bail while also requesting for two sureties and insisting that Mr Iwu must not communicate with any of the witnesses. He is to be remanded in the Ikoyi Prison until he meets the bail condition

Photo: Frankland Briyal

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