The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the process in which the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Cross River, Frankland Briyai, resigned to join partisan politics, is unacceptable.
The commission, in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja, quoted INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, as making the clarification.
Okoye who made the clarification at the opening of a National Strategy Meeting on Capturing Disaggregated Data of Persons with Disabilities, said that although Briyai had the right to join a political party and to contest election, the way he made public his intention to join partisan politics was not in comformity with due process.
“What happened was that our REC in Cross River did not forward any letter to any of the appointing authorities.
“He did not have any communication with the supervising National Commissioner, the Chairman of the Commission, but organised a send-off party for himself on Aug. 8.
“He announced that he had joined partisan politics and announced that he had formally joined one of the registered political parties.
“We consider this unacceptable; we have a code of conduct that binds every national commissioner and REC. We cannot be partisan and at the same time be umpires,” he said.
Okoye also said that contrary to reports that INEC had removed him, the commission only withdrew the powers conferred on him.
The national commissioner said ”the truth is that the commission does not have the power to sack or dismiss any REC because it is not the appointing authority.”
He said that all INEC RECs were appointed by the President, subject to confirmation by Senate and could only be removed in the same process.
“Since Briyai has compromised his independence, we have removed all the powers given to him by the commission. All those powers now reside with the Administrative Secretary in the state,” he added.