Connect with us


2023: CSOs call for  review of INEC REC’s nomination 



A coalition of nine notable Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and partners have advocated  for review of the 19 Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs)  nominees.

The coalition CSOs are : Yiaga Africa, International Press Center (IPC), Center for Media and Society (CMS), The Albino Foundation (TAF), Elect Her, Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF), Partners for Electoral Reform (PER), Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) and The Kukah Centre.

Mr Lanre Arogundade of IPC at a news conference on Friday in Abuja, said the call was necessary to address some issues.

According to Arogundade,   the Nigerian Senate, on July 26, announced President Buhari’s appointment of 19 RECs following the expiration of the tenure of the outgone RECs in 19 states.

He said that out of the 19 nominated RECs, 14 were new appointments, while five were reappointed.

He listed the new nominees to include: Pauline Onyeka Ugochi, Imo,  Muhammad  Bashir ,Sokoto, Prof. Ayobami Salami  ,Oyo  Zango Abdu ,Katsina, Queen Elizabeth Agwu ,Ebonyi , Agundu Tersoo Benue and Yomere Oritsemlebi  from Delta.

Others are: Prof. Yahaya Ibrahim, Kaduna, Dr. Nura Ali , Kano, Agu  Sylvia ,Enugu, Ahmed Garki , FCT,  Hudu Yunusa ,Bauchi, Prof. Uzochukwu Chijioke, Anambra,  and Mohammed Nura  ,Yobe.

The reappointed nominees include Ibrahim Abdullahi (Adamawa); Obo Effanga (Cross River); Umar Ibrahim (Taraba); Agboke Olaleke (Ogun); and Prof. Samuel Egwu.(Kogi).

“Appointments into INEC have grave implications for the credibility, independence and capacity of the Commission to deliver credible, transparent, inclusive and conclusive elections.

“It is for this reason that the Constitution prescribes the criteria and procedure for appointments into INEC to protect the Commission’s neutrality, objectivity and non-partisanship.

” Section 156(1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria clearly prohibits the appointment of any person who is a member of a political party as a member of INEC.

“To further ensure the neutrality of the members of INEC, the Constitution clearly mandates in the Third Schedule, Part 1, Item F, paragraph 14 (1) that Commissioners shall be non-partisan and persons of unquestionable integrity.

“Our investigation and analysis prove that  some of the nominees fail the constitutional test of non-partisanship and unquestionable integrity. “

Arogundade said that  evidence abounded  that some of the nominees were either partisan, politically aligned, or previously indicted for corruption.

“We contend that the appointment of these individuals as RECs will significantly undermine the neutrality and impartiality of the Independent National Electoral Commission, and it will increase mistrust in INEC and Nigeria’s electoral process.

” By the combined effect of Section 156 (1)(a) and Third Schedule, Part 1, Item F, paragraph 14 (1), these individuals are constitutionally prohibited from any appointment as members of INEC.

” It will be against the sacred spirit of the Constitution to accept their nomination,given their antecedent and close affinity with political parties, it is improbable that they will remain neutral and objective if successfully screened as INEC RECs,” he said.

Also, Mr Jake Epelle, Founder of Albino Foundation, said the coalition was constrained to observe that the appointments did not reflect the principles of non-discrimination and inclusivity .

Epelle said it was critical that the coalition strove to make the electoral process more inclusive, representative, and qualitative.

He said the appointment of PWDS would provide the pulse required to give effect to the provisions of the Discrimination Against Persons Living with Disabilities Act, 2018, and other legislations and guiding principles in that regard.

Epelle added that the group called  for a thorough examination and background checks of the credentials of the nominees.

He  said that the coalition believed that the electoral commissioners should  be individuals with impeccable character, unquestionable neutral inclinations, dispositions, and competence.

Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu , Board Member, Yiaga Africa, said that it was   critical for the legitimacy and success of the 2023 general election that the appointment of the RECs is concluded expeditiously in a transparent, non-partisan, and professional manner.

Nwagwu said that this was  especially because  the 2023 election was in 183 days.

He said  the undersigned CSOs called for  withdrawal of the nomination  in the public interest .

“In making nominations into INEC  should be guided by the judgment of the Federal High Court on affirmative action wherein the court directed that all appointments must comply with the 35 per cent affirmative action for women.

” In the same vein, the President should ensure the representation of Persons with disability (PWDs) and young people in the appointments.

“The Senate should accelerate the process of screening nominees without compromising due diligence and comprehensive scrutiny of nominations forwarded by the President,” he said. (NAN)

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *