The Imo State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Prof Francis Ezeonu has bowed out amidst encomium from staff, journalists and other stakeholders after years of meritorious and dedicated service to the nation.
Most of those present at the luncheon organized in his honour including some journalists and staff of INEC spoke glowingly about Prof Ezeonu, who they described as a disciplined, dedicated and principled person known for always being fair but firm in the discharge of his duties and approach to issues.
A female journalist with NTA, Nigeria(namewithheld) while eulogizing the former Resident Electoral Commissioner in an emotional laden voice narrated how helpful he was to her, colleagues and others who came close to or needed his assistance in the course of discharging their duties.
Also speaking,the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Imo State Council, Comrade Precious Nwadike the Senatorial Candidate of Untied Progressive Party UPP for Orlu zone in 2019, recalled how the election which he contested, positively changed his mindset about the electoral umpire, adding that he now believes there are still technocrats in the commission who could reject mouth-watering offers from politicians .
He said, “though I lost the election, I wrote Prof Ezeonu a personal letter commending his fair, firm and impartial disposition which distinguished him as a man of integrity”.
He further stated that Prof Ezeonu, despite all odds, intrigues and pressure from different quarters insisted on the right thing being done by providing equal opportunities and a level playing ground for all”. The relationship between INEC and the key actors in the state has been very cordial and rosy because the man at the helm of affairs is straight forward, sincere and transparent.
“That is why the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Imo State Council, media practitioners of all shades and Imolites in general will not only miss him but will also remember with nostalgia his exemplary conduct, commitment and dedication.”
Comrade Nwadike further noted that, “public officers who are friendly with and see the press as partners in progress are adjudged to be those who don’t have skeletons in their cupboards and Prof Francis Ezeonu, from all indications is one of them.”
Earlier in his speech, at the occasion, Prof Ezeonu thanked the press for ensuring that there was cordial relationship between his office and the commission in the state pointing out that the synergy between the media and INEC contributed immensely to the success recorded by the commission under his watch.
He stressed the need for Imolites to take advantage of the extension of the deadline for registration and acquisition of the Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) seriously pointing out that though Imo state still parades the least number of newly registered voters, there has been tremendous improvement in the turnout of those who wish to register in the state.
“I had reported that in the first two quarters of the exercise which lasted from June to December 2021 the state registered a total of 16,511 out of which 7,145 (43.3%) were found to be invalid, meaning that they had registered previously (sometime between 2011 and 2018). This leaves us with a balance of 9,366 valid registration.”