Few days before the governorship election on Saturday, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has ordered the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Sokoto State, Dr Nura Ali, to step aside for the administrative secretary, Hauwa’u Kangiwa, to take charge with immediate effect.
This was contained in a letter dated March 6, 2023 and signed by secretary to the commission, Rose Oriaran-Anthony.
The letter further directed Kangiwa to liaise with their Supervisory National Commissioner, Professor Muhammad Sani Kala, for further clarifications where necessary.
The letter, however, did not state the reason for the action but sources within the commission confided in Daily Trust that it would not be unconnected with the conduct of presidential and National Assembly elections in the state which were marred by hitches.
“You know there were a lot of hitches recorded during the last elections which include late arrival of materials at polling units and poorly trained ad hoc staff,” the source said.
Daily Trust learnt that the elections were the first conducted by the commissioner since his appointment into the commission last year.
“And you know Sokoto is a very difficult state when it comes to the conduct of elections.
“The state requires a highly experienced and capable hand to manage its elections.
“I believe this is part of the reasons why the commissioner was stepping down and a highly experienced team was redeployed to manage governorship and other elections in the state,” the source said.
The elections in Sokoto were marred by hitches such that aside from the presidential election, which was won by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the parliamentary elections were declared inconclusive, including those of the three senatorial districts.
The main opposition party in the state, All Progressives Congress (APC), had alleged that the PDP connived with some staff of the commission to rig the election but the APC denied this and in turn accused the PDP of working to subvert the will of the people.
Commenting on the development that led to the removal of the REC, a source said, “You know a lot of hitches were recorded during the last elections; late arrival of materials at polling units and improper conduct of poorly trained adhoc staff.
“The controversy during the last election is the major reason the commissioner was asked to step down while a highly experienced team was deployed to manage governorship and other elections in the state,” he said.
When contacted, the spokesman of the commission, Dr Shamsuddeen Sidi, confirmed the change of guard but declined further comments.