- President Muhammadu Buhari has been critiqued for the list of nominated INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners he presented to the Senate for approval
- Civil Society Organisations conducted an investigation and found out some of the nominees were not eligible
- It was gathered that some of the aspirants have political affiliations while others had cases of corruption and incompetency
FCT, Abuja - A coalition of nine civil society organisations (CSOs) has called President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw some of the nominated Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) billed to be screened by the House of Senate.
The coalition made this known during a press briefing on Friday, August 26 in Abuja.
Addressing the press briefing, Eze Nwagwu, a board member of Yiaga Africa said appointments to the National Electoral Commission (INEC) have grave implications for the credibility, independence, and capacity of the Commission to deliver credible, transparent, inclusive, and conclusive elections.
As gathered by Legit.ng regional correspondent who was present at the briefing, some of the nominated REC officers have at one point in time contested political positions, have affiliations with politicians, and have criminal and corruption records.
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Mr. Nwagwu said:
"Our investigation and analysis prove the contrary. Some of the nominees of the President fail the constitutional test of non-partisanship and unquestionable integrity. Evidence abounds that some of the nominees are either partisan, politically aligned, or previously indicted for corruption."
CSOs release list of violators
Some of the nominees highlighted by the CSOs include Prof. Muhammad Lawal Bashir from Sokoto who was a governorship aspirant under the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the 2015 elections cycle.
It was also gathered that Mrs. Sylvia Uchenna Agu, the nominee for Enugu state, is believed to be the younger sister of the APC Deputy National Chairman, Southeast.
In 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.
Elsewhere in Ebonyi, Mrs. Queen Elizabeth Agwu, a former Accountant-General of the Ebonyi, was suspended allegedly on the grounds of incompetence and corruption in 2016.
CSOs issue recommendations for Buhari, Senate
In their recommendations, the CSOs urged President Buhari to withdraw the nomination of the alleged individuals.
Also, they urged the Senate to completely reject the list and also accelerate the process of screening nominees without compromising due diligence and comprehensive scrutiny of nominations forwarded by the President.
The CSOs said:
"President Buhari should withdraw the nomination of these individuals in the public interest and in furtherance of his commitment to leave a legacy of a truly independent electoral institution that enjoys the trust and confidence of citizens and electoral stakeholders."
The CSOs however rejected the nomination stating that the disparities in the list will significantly undermine the neutrality and impartiality of INEC and it will increase mistrust in the commission and Nigeria's electoral process.
The CSOs are: Yiaga Africa, International Press Center, Center for Media and Society, The Albino Foundation, and Elect Her.
Others include Nigerian Women Trust Fund, Partners for Electoral Reform, Inclusive Friends Association, and The Kukah Centre.
"Direct citizens, LGA engagement will promote democracy at the grassroots", says Yiaga Africa
In another development, Yiaga Africa recently stormed the city of Sokoto to continue its 'Peoples’ Assembly' campaign.
The campaign is aimed at engaging local government officials in selected local governments and citizens.
The People's Assembly is implemented under the TurnUpDemocracy project supported by FCDO.
"Arm yourself with knowledge of electoral act, constitution", Yiaga Africa tells CSOs
The foremost electoral observer group, Yiaga Africa recently held an engagement forum with CSOs and electoral stakeholders in Osun state.
The group during the interactive session with these stakeholders carried out an evaluation of the success and shortcomings of both elections.