A group, the Northern Emancipation Network (NEN), on Sunday criticised the list of nominees presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Senate for confirmation as National Commissioners and Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Rejecting the list of the nominees, NEM said it excluded some individuals who have shown integrity and ability to provide free, fair and credible elections.
President Buhari had written the Senate in December 2021 for the confirmation of seven National Commissioners and one Resident Electoral Commissioner for the INEC.
The nominees are Mallam Mohammed Haruna, National Commissioner (Niger – Northcentral), Mrs May Agbamuche-Mbu (Delta – Southsouth), Ukeagu Kenneth Nnamdi (Abia – Southeast), and Major General A. B. Alkali (rtd.) – Adamawa, (Northeast).
Others include Prof. Rhoda H. Gumus (Bayelsa – Southsouth), Mr Sam Olumekan (Ondo – Southwest) and Olaniyi Olaleye Ijalaye (Ondo – Southwest), Resident Electoral Commissioner.
A statement in Abuja by the General Secretary of the NEN, Abba Suleiman Abdulazeez, called for a review of Buhari’s list of nominees.
The group warned that if the list was not reviewed by the President, it could trigger a gradual, but steady erosion of citizens’ faith in the coming 2023 elections.
Abdulazeez said: “We are of the firm view that elections are the most important process that gives Nigerians the opportunity to alter the course of any development that can change their lives.
“Consequently, the President should create an enabling electoral environment for Nigerians to choose their leaders in local elections.
“This can only be possible, if reliable men and women of integrity are in place as National and Resident Electoral Commissioners to superintend over elections.
“Therefore, it is with deep concern that we ask the President to reconsider the (INEC nominees) list with a view to nominating people of integrity like himself who have the capacity to deliver credible elections.
“The best practice around the world is that where you find people of integrity and competence, you retain them and promote them to inspire others and grow, because perception is a key factor in election management.
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“It is a disservice to the country that people identified as capable of upholding the integrity of the electoral process without blemish are exited or sidelined from the election management body.
“So, we respectfully call on the President to review the choice of Nominees and go for reliable and tested Commissioners.
“We restate that RECs with integrity, credibility and consistency, particularly during the 2019 election should not be excluded from the system, because they uphold high values and are committed to the good of the country.
“The president should act as he did a few days ago with the new NNPC Board.
“Mr President should diligently review the list of nominees to the Senate by making changes that will restore the faith of Nigerians in the coming 2023 elections.
“There should be no manipulation of the electoral management institutions by people with vested interests around the President who are bent on destroying his proven integrity and his remaining opportunity to leave behind an enduring electoral legacy that history and future Nigerians will remember him for.
“Mr President should thus take these significant steps for the sake of national interest and a need to deepen democracy in Nigeria by recalling the list sent to the Senate and appointing people who have proven records of commitment to credible election so that Nigerians can have confidence in the electoral process as the 2023 elections approach.”