Nasarawa State Governor Tanko Al-Makura has vowed not to tamper with the independence of the Nasarawa State Independent Electoral Commission (NASIEC).
The governor made the pledge on Monday during the inauguration ceremony of the chairman and members of the state electoral body.
The inauguration, which held at the Council Chambers of the Government House in Lafia, the state capital, is in line with the preparation for the local government elections slated for May in the state.
Addressing the newly NASIEC officials, Governor Al-Makura noted that adequate provision has been made to ensure the polls are conducted successfully.
He also called on other political parties to participate fully in the elections without any fear of partisanship and assured them of responsiveness on the part of the state government.
Read the governor’s full speech below:
It is with a heavy heart and great sense of loss that I am performing this exercise in view of the recent demise of the former Governor of Nasarawa State, Alhaji Aliyu Akwe Doma, OON. However, exigencies of office dictate we act in order to ensure that governance processes and conventions be carried out, as at when due.
This, we believe, is more fitting, a farewell, to the late Governor. Hence, I am addressing you today on this occasion of the swearing-in of the Chairman and Members of the Nasarawa State Independent Electoral Commission (NASIEC), a Permanent Secretary in the Nasarawa State Public Service, as well as Interim Management Committee Chairmen of Keana and Keffi Local Government Councils.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it would be recalled that the tenure of the erstwhile Chairman and some Members of the Nasarawa State Independent Electoral Commission (NASIEC) expired, thereby creating a vacuum and the necessity to fill the existing vacancy therein. Accordingly, by the powers conferred on me, it became imperative to reconstitute the Commission.
In this regard, I submitted names of nominees to the Nasarawa State House of Assembly for confirmation as Chairman and Members of the electoral body in the State. I need to express my appreciation to the Right Honourable Speaker and Members of the House for their speedy consideration of the appointees.
This, no doubt further demonstrates our enduring partnership towards fulfilling our collective responsibilities to the people. It is my hope that this relationship will continue to flourish.
Let me point out that we made meticulous consultations with regards to consideration of the backgrounds, wealth of experience and track records of the appointees. It is my belief that these appointees have met our set criteria.
While congratulating the Chairman and Members of NASIEC, therefore, I charge you to justify the confidence reposed in you, considering the fact that your appointment came at a time the State is preparing to conduct the Local Government elections in May 2018. In other words, you must exhibit honesty and integrity in your conduct.
As you settle down to this onerous task, remember that the first assignment before you are to organize a free, fair and credible election that is in line with the Law and best practices. Accordingly, I call on you to ensure a level playing field for all the would-be candidates to be fielded by the registered political parties in the State.
Let me place on record that Government would not interfere with the independence of the State electoral body in the due discharge of its responsibilities. I, therefore, call on all political parties to participate in the electioneering process without any fear of partisanship. To underscore our commitment in this direction, Government is providing the necessary enablement to facilitate the smooth preparation and conduct of the May 2018 election.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me state that, as part of this occasion, a new Permanent Secretary has also been sworn-in to fill existing vacancy in the Civil Service. It is also aimed at strengthening the machinery of Government towards effective and efficient service delivery. I must reiterate to our new Permanent Secretary that public service is public trust.
I, therefore, charge you to uphold the virtues of this Administration anchored on accountability, transparency, probity in the management of public funds and, above all, loyalty. You are enjoined to work in synergy with your colleagues and other political appointees, as well as your subordinates in the implementation of Government policies and programmes.
You will be surprised that we are swearing-in Interim Management Committee Chairmen of Keana and Keffi Local Government Councils respectively, while we are holding elections in May 2018. This is to avoid having a vacuum in these Local Government Areas for smooth Administration in the affected councils.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me take the liberty of this occasion to comment on the tenure of Local Government chairmen and councillors in the State. You are already aware of the controversy surrounding the tenure of elected Local Government officials which the previous Assembly fixed for only two years which was not helped by several court decisions on the issue.
For all intent and purposes, this Administration notes that no meaningful socio-economic activities will take place within a span of two years. It is for this reason that Government recently submitted a bill to the Nasarawa State House of Assembly aimed at addressing the issue of tenure of our elected Local Government representatives to a three-year term. It is my belief that the amendment of the Local Government Law will put to rest the issue of tenure of Local Government officials in the State.
At this juncture, ladies and gentlemen, as we move closer to the May 2018 Local Government elections, I urge all and sundry to ensure that we participate fully in this exercise that will usher in elective officers at the grassroots. I urge you to conduct yourselves in a peaceful and orderly manner, not only during the electioneering campaigns but also during the conduct of the elections.
On this note, I once again congratulate the Chairman and members of NASIEC, the new Permanent Secretary and Interim Management Committee Chairmen of Keana and Keffi Local Government Councils. I welcome you on board to the service of Nasarawa State.
Thank you and God bless.