By David Olalekan.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rejected the resignation of its Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Cross River State, Frankland Briyai who earlier announced his decision to join the Bayelsa State governorship race.
The Commission, through a statement by its Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, maintained that Briyai hasn’t been relieved of his duties as REC until he issues a formal resignation to the electoral body or is sacked by the president.
Okoye made the disclosure on Thursday, during a national strategy meeting on capturing disaggregated data of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Abuja.
He noted that the Cross River State REC did not inform the INEC chairman of his decision to go into politics, before inviting the media into the premises of the commission where he announced his resignation and intention to join partisan politics.
“What happened was that our REC in Cross River did not forward any letter to any of the appointing authorities, did not have any communication with the supervising national commissioner, did not have any communication with the chairman of the commission, but organised a sendoff party for himself on the 8th of August.
“There, he invited staff of the commission, invited the media, invited political parties and he used that particular opportunity in the premises of the commission, announced his resignation, announced the fact that he had joined partisan politics and announced that he has formally joined one of the registered political parties in the office and thereafter he entered an official vehicle of the commission and drove out to his official residence.
“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”, Okoye said.
He added that Briyai remains a REC until he resigns properly or is removed by the president.
“The truth of the matter is that the commission does not have the power to sack or dismiss any REC because we are not the appointing authority.
“So what the commission has done is to withdraw the powers donated to him (REC Cross River state) by the commission but he still remains a REC until he resigns properly or until he is removed by the president who is the appointing authority”, he said.