2015: INEC Begins Massive Restructuring

2015: INEC Begins Massive Restructuring

Strong indications have emerged that the recent restructuring exercise carried out by the Independent National Electoral Commission was motivated by a strong quest to tackle an image crisis rocking the commission.

SUNDAY PUNCH’s investigations showed that the shake-up in the commission which affected 67 directors was in response to repeated criticisms of the structural composition of the body said to be tilted in favour of the North.

The Chairman of the INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, was said to have taken the step to address the crisis by reshuffling, redeploying, transferring and retiring those in top positions to garner public confidence in the commission ahead of the 2015 elections.

It was learnt that INEC decided to go after personnel at the directorate cadre who had less than two years to retire because of the danger they were said to have posed to improving the level of credibility of the 2015 elections.

“Some of the affected directors were like dead woods; their productivity had declined. For others, their credibility had become questionable because they had soiled their fingers. To ensure that a credible team is put in place before the 2015 elections, Jega ordered the exercise,” a source at the commission, who pleaded anonymity, said.

The restructuring involved the reduction of the departments from 26 to nine while the directorates were reduced to 10.

The directors who had less than two years in service were given the option of retiring voluntarily and be paid upfront or face deployment.

 Some of the affected INEC Directors include the commission’s Head of Public Affairs, Mr. Emmanuel Umenger, who was redeployed as Administrative Secretary and replaced with Mr. Arabambi who was in charge of General Administration Services.

Others  were the Director of Finance and Administration, Mr. Abdulahi Uregei, now replaced by Mrs. Maria Salamatu; Head of Legal Services, Mr. Ibrahim Bawa, replaced by Mrs. Augusta Ogaku.

The list also included the Head of INEC Secretariat, Mr. Abdullahi Adamu redeployed as Administrative Second, Kaduna; Director of Human Resources, Sheu Muthai ; Admin Second, Kwara, Mr. Godwin Agwu, now Director in charge of procurement; Director of political Parties Monitoring and Liaison,  Mrs. Regina Omo-Agege, was redeployed as Admin Second and Director of Audit, Mr. Idris Kuta, was replaced by Mrs. Felicia Tobi.

Prior to the restructuring exercise, employees of the commission under the aegis of Concerned Members of the Commission had written an unsigned petition to the President of Senate, Dr. David Mark, accusing Jega of pursuing a sectional agenda in the commission.

The petition received by the Chairman, Senate Committee on INEC, Andy Uba, on January 7, 2013, among other things, accused Jega of embarking on a reorganisation of the commission to the detriment of the South.

But the immediate past director of information at INEC, Umenger, said the alleged lopsidedness in INEC was not Jega’s making.

“Jega has not made any appointment. Jega inherited all these things you are talking about,” he stated.

An INEC commissioner, who confided in one of our correspondents, said, “The recent restructuring in the INEC was carried out with the 2015 general elections in mind.

“What is being done is to prepare the commission for the forthcoming elections but there are concerns that the Federal Character Principle is being observed in the breach.”

In his reaction to the sackings, the National Chairman of United Progressive Party, Mr. Chekwas Okorie, said, “I have not changed my views about the characters in INEC especially the technocrats who are very corrupt. That is why no matter the number of times you change the leadership in INEC, the corruption process continues unabated.”

When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to Jega, Mr. Kayode Idowu, said the reorganisation exercise had nothing to do with the allegations.

He said, “All these (restructuring) are plans the commission had over time and it has nothing to do with individuals. I am therefore surprised that you are fishing for individual indictment.

“It is purely an operational thing to make the commission the best election management body in Africa and that can only be done by making it efficient. All these allegations are to create crisis where it doesn’t exist.”

Source: Legit.ng

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Khadijah Thabit (Copyeditor) Khadijah Thabit is an editor with over 3 years of experience editing and managing contents such as articles, blogs, newsletters and social leads. She has a BA in English and Literary Studies from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Khadijah joined Legit.ng in September 2020 as a copyeditor and proofreader for the Human Interest, Current Affairs, Business, Sports and PR desks. As a grammar police, she develops her skills by reading novels and dictionaries. Email: khadeeejathabit@gmail.com

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