Executive Director of YIAGA Africa, Samson Itodo, on Monday faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominations for Residential Electoral Commissioners.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Itodo said the nominations were an attempt to capture the Independent National Electoral Commission for political gain ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“Nigerians need to know that there is an attempt to capture INEC,” he said. “And this is not the first time. It started with an attempt to appoint Lauretta Onochie.”
In July, Buhari had asked the senate to confirm 19 nominees as INEC RECs.
According to Itodo, some of those nominated by President Buhari have partisan leanings.
Nigerians need to know that there is an attempt to capture INEC ahead of the 2023 elections. – Samson Itodo, Executive Director of YIAGA Africa#PoliticsToday#CTVTweets pic.twitter.com/bYxcX9Rrrt
— Channels Television (@channelstv) August 29, 2022
“We are 179 days to the elections; RECs have not been confirmed. And you’ve now appointed people who have partisan leanings,” he added.
“The Senate needs to rise the occasion by rejecting these nominees and ask the President to re-nominate. It (the nominations) is an aberration of the constitution.”
He said the nominees would undermine INEC’s capacity to resist those who intend to circumvent the electoral process in 2023.
Earlier a coalition of CSOs, including Itodo’s YIAGA Africa, had formally rejected the nominees.
“Some of the nominees of the President fail the constitutional test of non-partisanship and unquestionable integrity,” the CSOs said in a statement.
“Evidence abounds that some of the nominees are either partisan, politically aligned, or previously indicted for corruption.
“To mention a few, Prof. Muhammad Lawal Bashir from Sokoto was a Governorship aspirant under the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the 2015 elections cycle.
“Mrs. Sylvia Uchenna Agu, the nominee for Enugu state, is believed to be the younger sister of the APC Deputy National Chairman, Southeast,” the statement reads.
“The nominee for 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.
“Mrs. Queen Elizabeth Agwu, a former Accountant-General of the Ebonyi, was suspended allegedly on the grounds of incompetence and corruption in 2016.
“We contend that the appointment of these individuals as RECs will significantly undermine the neutrality and impartiality of the Independent National Electoral Commission, and it will increase mistrust in INEC and Nigeria’s electoral process.
“By the combined effect of Section 156 (1)(a) and Third Schedule, Part 1, Item F, paragraph 14 (1), these individuals are constitutionally prohibited from any appointment as members of INEC.”