The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has vehemently rejected the confirmation of a card-carrying member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prof. Rhoda Gumus, as a National Commissioner (South-South) in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The PDP in a statement by its spokesman, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, described Prof. Gumus’ confirmation as INEC National Commissioner by the APC-led Senate leadership as a “coup” against democracy.
According to the party, the confirmation was also an open invitation to a serious political crisis that can derail “our hard-earned democracy and lead to the breakdown of law and order if not immediately reversed”.
The opposition party argued that in confirming Prof. Gumus, the APC-led Senate leadership has exposed itself as anti-people and completely insensitive to the aspiration of Nigerians for credible and transparent elections in 2023.
“The action of the APC-led Senate is highly provocative and incendiary because it is in violation of Paragraph 14 (2)(a) of the 3rd Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), which provides that ‘a member of the Commission shall be non-partisan and a person of unquestionable integrity'”.
“Such violent assault on the Constitution and our electoral process by the APC cannot be allowed to stand. The media space is awash with reports of Prof. Gumus as a member of the APC in Bayelsa State with APC Registration Form No: BAY/YEN/08/58315 and reportedly as number 27 in her APC Ward Register.
“In nominating and confirming an APC card-carrying member into INEC, President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC-led Senate leadership have recklessly violated the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) which they swore to uphold and defend.
“This action is designed to corrupt and compromise the electoral commission and pave way for the APC to rig the 2023 general elections. Nigerians can recall how President Buhari had earlier sought to impose his aide and card-carrying member of the APC, Lauretta Onochie as INEC Commissioner but was stiffly resisted by Nigerians.
“The APC which thrives in impunity has again nominated and confirmed Prof. Gumus, another APC card-carrying member as National Commissioner in INEC in flagrant violation of the Constitution and total disregard for the Nigerian people,” the party’s statement partly read.
PDP’s spokesman in his communique insisted that Prof. Gumus must not be allowed to be used to pollute INEC. According to him, her mission is already exposed and the party is ready to mobilize its members and all patriotic Nigerians across the country by taking legitimate actions to protect the integrity of the electoral body.
The opposition party issued a stern caution to “Prof. Gumus to, in the interest of peace, steer clear of INEC as there is no way she can function in that office as a card-carrying member of the APC.
“Democracy is about transparency of elections. Nigerians cannot believe in the integrity of the process with Prof. Gumus in INEC. Her entry and continuing stay in INEC will be toxic and taint the Commission with bias and manipulations ahead of the 2023 elections since her appointment and confirmation is unconstitutional,” the PDP declared.
The PDP called on President Buhari to immediately withdraw the appointment of Prof. Gumus as INEC National Commissioner in line with his oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. They believe this will assure Nigerians that the president is committed to free, fair, transparent, and credible elections in 2023.
The PDP saluted and commends the efforts of the Civil Society “which continues to remain relentless in the fight for credible electoral process from appointment of officers of INEC, processes of election as well as the collation and declaration of election results”.
The party urged the civil society and all well-meaning Nigerians to continue to insist that appointments into INEC must be transparent and in line with the provisions of the Constitution and other relevant laws.