Withdraw the appointment of alleged members of political parties as RECs-SERAP

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently withdraw the names of candidates recently submitted to the Senate for confirmation as Resident Election Commissioners (RECs) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who would be members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In a letter dated September 3, 2022 and signed by SERAP Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare, the Organization said President Buhari on July 26 sent the names of 19 Resident Election Commissioners to the Senate for confirmation. At least four of the 19 candidates are said to belong to a political party or have already been charged with corruption.

He argued that “the combined effect of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended]electoral law and international standards is the requirement that elections be conducted by a genuinely independent and impartial electoral body.

Ensure that the electorate is free

SERAP said: “Removing the names of candidates who are allegedly members of the APC and replacing them with persons of unquestionable integrity and competence who are not members of any political party would enhance the independence of INEC and promote public confidence in the appointment process.

According to SERAP, “the government has a legal responsibility to promote and guarantee the integrity, credibility and independence of INEC, and to ensure that the electoral body is free from political or other interference” .

“The will of the people is expressed through democratic elections. This requires that elections be free, fair, legitimate and credible. However, the credibility and legitimacy of elections depends in part on the integrity and competence of the body conducting the process, and the transparency of the REC appointment process,” the letter read.

SERAP has given the federal government 7 days from receipt and/or publication of the letter to respond or take legal action to ensure compliance in the public interest.

Potential RECs

The persons designated as RECs are: Ibrahim Abdullahi (Adamawa – Renewal); Obo Effanga (Cross River – Renewal); Umar Ibrahim (Taraba – Renewal); Agboke Olaleke (Ogun – Renewal); and Samuel Egwu, professor, (Kogi – Renewal).

“The others are Onyeka Ugochi (Imo); Muhammad Bashir (Sokoto); Ayobami Salami, teacher, (Oyo); Zango Abdu (Katsina); Queen Agwu (Ebonyi); and Agundu Tersoo (Benue).

“Also to be confirmed: Yomere Oritsemlebi (Delta); Yahaya Ibrahim, teacher, (Kaduna); Noura Ali (Kano); Agu Uchenna (Enugu); Ahmed Garki (FCT); Houdu Yunusa (Bauchi); Uzochukwu Chijioke, teacher (Anambra); and Mohammad Nura (Yobe).

The letter was copied to Dr. Ahmad Lawan, President of the Senate, and Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Written by Annabel Nwachukwu

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