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Civil Society Organizations Fault List Of INEC Resident Commissioner Nominees

At least four of the 19 candidates President Muhammadu Buhari selected to serve as Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) for INEC have been alleged to be either members of a political party or have been the subject of prior corruption-related indictments.

This was discovered in a study conducted by a group of civil society organizations (CSOs) and made available to premium times.

On July 26, President Muhammadu Buhari wrote to the Senate to nominate the 19 RECs. Additionally, he asked for the nominations to be approved by the upper chamber.

Five of the 19 applicants received new appointments, while the other 14 received second terms of five years.

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

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The other 14 nominees are Onyeka Ugochi (Imo); Muhammad Bashir (Sokoto); Ayobami Salami (Oyo); Zango Abdu (Katsina); Queen Elizabeth Agwu (Ebonyi); and Agundu Tersoo (Benue).

Others are: Yomere Oritsemlebi (Delta); Yahaya Ibrahim (Kaduna); Nura Ali (Kano); Agu Uchenna (Enugu); Ahmed Garki (FCT); and Hudu Yunusa (Bauchi);


‘Unqualified nominees, breach of constitution’

The CSOs criticized several of the nominees for being biased and having a murky past during a press conference on Friday.

The nominee from Sokoto State, Muhammad Bashir, was an All Progressives Congress (APC) aspirant for governor during the 2015 election cycle, according to Lanre Arogundade, Director of the International Press Centre, who made the statement in his speech.

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He stated that Sylvia Agu, the nominee for Enugu State, is reportedly the younger sister of the APC Deputy National Chairman, South-east.

Pauline Onyeka, the nominee for Imo State and a former head of ICT at INEC in that state, rose to prominence for alleged corruption and collusion with politicians to rig elections.

He said Queen-Elizabeth Agwu, a former Accountant-General in Ebonyi State, was suspended allegedly on the grounds of incompetence and corruption in 2016.

The appointments, he noted, have grave implications for the credibility, independence and capacity of INEC to deliver credible, transparent, inclusive and conclusive elections.

Mr Arogundade also said their appointments will significantly undermine the neutrality and impartiality of the Commission and will increase mistrust in Nigeria’s electoral process.

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“Lopsided appointment, need for withdrawal”

Another member of the group, Jake Epkelle of the Albino Foundation, worried that the appointments did not reflect the principles of non-discrimination and inclusivity – with regard to Persons with Disability (PWDs).

The CSOs therefore rejected the appointments and urged President Buhari to withdraw their nomination in the public interest and in furtherance of his commitment to leave a legacy of a truly independent electoral institution.

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