A chieftain of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Abdulmumin Jibrin, on Tuesday said President Muhammadu Buhari is duty-bound to conduct a free and fair election in 2023.
Buhari had on September 21 told world leaders at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York that his administration will bequeath credible elections next year.
But Jibrin, who spoke in Abuja during a citizens’ election dialogue on the theme, “What makes a good election in Nigeria,” said the Commander-in-Chief should not think he is doing Nigerians a favour by the pledge.
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He claimed that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was against taking Nigerians for granted in the quest for good governance.
“It is important for us not to take Nigerians for granted. Yes, President Muhammadu Buhari made that comment internationally that he will bequeath a free and fair election,” he said.
“It is not a favour to Nigerians, it is a responsibility. So, we should not wrongly interpret that,” the ex-Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation added.
He also spoke about the 19 Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) nominees recently forwarded to the National Assembly.
The ex-lawmaker said his party – NNPP – is worried, the same way Nigerians are concerned over the perceived partisan nature of some of the nominees.
According to him, the President had last year appointed one of his aides, Lauretta Onochie, as National Commissioner for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
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Jibrin was not the only one who spoke at the event. The spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign council, Dino Melaye, who graced the programe, accused the President of appointing APC members as RECs.
Melaye, a former lawmaker representing Kogi West senatorial district, explained that the conduct of INEC can either make or mar the 2023 general elections.
“As a party, we made some complaints that some names mentioned as Resident Electoral Commissioners as nominated by Mr President are card-carrying members of the APC,” Melaye said, reiterating the PDP’s worry over the nomination.
“Some of them even participated in open APC activities as nominees for the REC for some states. That is the complaint of my party. If that is rectified, then we must quickly appoint REC because it will boost the confidence of the electorates and show the seriousness of the entire system for the 2023 general elections.”