INEC RECs: APC Members Nomination – CPDPL Kicks, Urges Senate To Reject Buhari Nomination

PDP advocacy and pressure group, the Concerned PDP League has kicked against the appointment of 19 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by President Muhammadu Buhari.

CPDPL leader called on the Senate to reject the nominees, who included four alleged members of the All Progressives Congress, saying the appointment negate the criteria and procedure prescribed to protect the neutrality, objectivity, and non-partisanship of INEC, and also violate the provisions of the 1999 Nigeria constitution as amended.

The group leader recalled that “On July 26, 2022, the Nigerian Senate announced President Buhari’s appointment of 19 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) following the expiration of the tenure of the outgone RECs in nineteen states. Of the nineteen nominated RECs, fourteen were new appointments, while five were reappointed.

While lamenting, the CPDPL leader, disclosed that out of the 14 new nominations, the nominees from Sokoto, Enugu, Imo, and Ebonyi states were alleged to either be APC political loyalists or were indicted for corruption in the past which they said breached the constitution on appointment of INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners.

He said, “To mention a few, Prof. Muhammad Lawal Bashir from Sokoto was a Governorship aspirant under the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the 2015 elections cycle. Mrs. Sylvia Uchenna Agu, the nominee for Enugu State, is believed to be the younger sister of the APC Deputy National Chairman, Southeast,  Dr. Ijeomah Arodiogbu. The nominee for Imo State, Mrs. Pauline Onyeka Ugochi, a former Head of ICT at INEC in Imo state, gained notoriety for alleged corruption and connivance with politicians to undermine elections. Mrs. Queen Elizabeth Agwu, a former Accountant-General of Ebonyi state was suspended allegedly on the grounds of incompetence and corruption in 2016.

“We contend that the appointment of these individuals as RECs will significantly undermine and suffocate the neutrality and impartiality of the Independent National Electoral Commission, and it will increase mistrust in INEC and Nigeria’s electoral process and affect the image of the country before the international community. 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 screened as INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC),”Comrade Warmate, stated.

“The new nominees include Pauline Onyeka Ugochi (Imo); Muhammad Lawal Bashir (Sokoto); Prof. Ayobami Salami (Oyo); Zango Abdu (Katsina); Queen Elizabeth Agwu (Ebonyi); Agundu Tersoo (Benue), Yomere Oritsemlebi (Delta); Prof. Yahaya Ibrahim, (Kaduna); Dr. Nura Ali (Kano); Agu Uchenna 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).

“To this end, we are constrained to observe and reject the appointment as RECs entirely and urge the Senate to reject their nomination in the public interest and in furtherance of their commitment to leave a legacy of a truly independent electoral institution that enjoys the trust and confidence of citizens and electoral stakeholders.

“Because their nomination falls short of the threshold of non-partisanship and impeccable character. Electoral commissioners must be individuals with impeccable character, unquestionable neutral inclinations, dispositions, and competence.

“It is 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, especially now that the 2023 election is in 180 days.”

The CPDPL leader called on PDP to lead a mega protest against the confirmation at the resumption from the recess of the National Assembly (NASS).

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