- Agitations are ongoing for the withdrawal of some INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari
- No fewer than 19 names have been submitted by the president to the House of Senate for approval
- At least four names of the 19 submitted are said to have failed the constitutional non-partisan test
FCT, Abuja - Ahead of the crucial 2023 general election, reshuffling processes have begun to appoint new Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) across some states of the federation.
According to a statement made available to Legit.ng on Friday, August 26, no fewer than 19 names have been nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari and submitted to the House of Senate for approval.
It was gathered that fourteen of the nominated RECs were new appointments, while five others were up reappointed.
19 names nominated by President Buhari
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); and Agu Uchenna Sylvia (Enugu).
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Others include 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).
However, there seems to be a form of a loophole in the nomination list as some of the nominees have been found wanting in some alleged illegalities and other shortcomings.
"Some nominees failed constitutional test" - CSOs
Investigations have shown that some of the nominees did not meet the requirement of 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.
This means some of the nominees failed 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.
Below are the names of some of the uncovered nominees that failed the non-partisanship constitutional test:
1. Prof. Muhammad Lawal Bashir
The nominee is from Sokoto and was a governorship aspirant under the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the 2015 elections cycle.
2. Mrs. Sylvia Uchenna Agu
The nominee for Enugu state is believed to be the younger sister of the APC deputy national chairman, southeast.
3. Mrs. Pauline Onyeka Ugochi
The nominee for Imo state was a former Head of ICT at INEC in Imo state, who gained notoriety for alleged corruption and connivance with politicians to undermine elections.
4. Mrs. Queen Elizabeth Agwu
A former Accountant-General of the Ebonyi state was suspended allegedly on the grounds of incompetence and corruption in 2016.
CSOs uncover nomination of guber aspirant, APC’s deputy chair’s sister for INEC position
Meanwhile, 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 that 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.