Senate Suspends Screening Of INEC RECs

Senate Spokesman Confirms Receipt Of Letter From BuhariThe Nigerian Senate on Tuesday stood down the confirmation of nominees for positions of Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs).

This appears to be the Senate’s way of expressing misgivings about President Muhammadu Buhari’s alleged refusal to sack Mr Ibrahim Magu as acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), despite his repeated rejection by the lawmakers.

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, however, urged the lawmakers to apply some moderation to allow the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, convey their feelings to President Buhari on the issue of the appointment.

He also advised the Upper Chamber to stand down the confirmation of REC nominees for about two weeks.

“Those who drafted this constitution are not stupid, we didn’t draft it ourselves. We are here to protect the law which we all swore to.

“We said we are going to defend our constitution and defend the laws of this country and we must be seen to be doing that.

“But in doing this, I want to appeal that we apply some moderation to allow Mr President (Senator Saraki) to convey our feelings to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on this issue of appointment.

“I just want to appeal that we leave it for one week or at most by two weeks,” the Deputy Senate President said.

The Senators also accused some appointees of the President of disrespecting the National Assembly.

This comes barely a week after Dr. Saraki read a letter seeking the confirmation of 27 nominees for the position of RECs in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The letter was dated February 27, 2017, and signed by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, while acting as Nigeria’s President.

The list, which asked the lawmakers to consider the nominees for the positions, had eight former RECs who were reappointed and 19 new appointees.

Presidency Sends 27 REC Nominees For Senate Confirmation

Presidency Sends 27 REC Nominees For Senate ConfirmationThe Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on Thursday read a letter seeking the confirmation of 27 nominees for the position of Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The letter was dated February 27, 2017, and signed by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, while acting as Nigeria’s President.

The list, which asked the lawmakers to consider the nominees for the positions, has eight former RECs who were reappointed and 19 new appointees.

Some of the nominees are: Mr Mike Igini who earlier served as the REC in Edo and Cross Rivers states; Mr Halilu Pai who also served as the REC in Ondo State; Dr. Akeju, a former REC in Kogi and Ondo states; and Mr Sam Olumekun who served in Edo State.

The tenure of 33 RECs had expired weeks ago, leaving openings for the highest positions in the state leadership of INEC.

INEC Cautions Electoral Commissioners Ahead Of Elections

inecThe Acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mrs Amina Zakari, has asked all Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to work cautiously, not minding the challenges the commission is experiencing at the election petition tribunals.

The INEC boss made this call at a second meeting with RECs, to consolidate on the gains of the 2015 general elections and to develop strategies for future elections.

She noted that in spite of the various cases at the tribunals, INEC would take the security of its materials very seriously ahead of the upcoming Kogi and Bayelsa elections in November and December.

She added that all electoral commissioners, directors and staff must strive to uphold the integrity of the commission.

Mrs Amina Zakari was appointed as the Chairman of INEC, following former Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega’s conclusion of term of office.

Professor Attahiru Jega’s tenure as the Chairman of INEC came to an end on Tuesday, June 30.

Jega Advocates Total Autonomy Of State Electoral Commissions

JEGAThe Chairman of The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, is advocating total independence and autonomy of State Independent Electoral Commissions in the country to enable them discharge their constitutional responsibilities of conducting credible elections to the people.   

He made the demand at a conference organised to share experience on best practices in election management with the theme; ‘Assuring Credible and Sustainable Electoral Process in Nigeria’ held in Kaduna on Wednesday.

Professor Jega said that a situation whereby governors appoint members of their state electoral commissions, determine their budgets as well as continuously interfere in their activities would not give the electoral bodies the freedom to conduct free and fair elections.

A representative of the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), Professor Bolade Ayinla, stressed that Nigerians had the right to choose their leaders through elected representatives, urging the INEC and other election management bodies to guarantee the citizens right to full participation in the electoral process.

Over the years, the appointment of chairmen and members of State Electoral Commissions had been the prerogative of state governors who also dictate to the commissions, a practice Professor Jega insisted must stop if Nigeria must get its elections right.

Resident Electoral Commissioners, National Electoral officers and Chairmen of State Independent Electoral Commissions were present at the workshop to share ideas, especially on the impending review of polling units for the 2015 elections.

The INEC chairman said for elections to be free and fair, the commission must share information and collaborate with State Electoral Commissions, adding that “there cannot be good governance in the country if the foundation of the electoral process is not right”. He also announced that the commission had commenced a programme of constituency delineation ahead of 2015 elections.

The Chairman of the Lagos State Electoral Commission (LASIEC) Justice Afolabi Adeyinka, said the Nigerian Constitution must be amended to ensure independence and autonomy of State Electoral Commissions.

Participants at the conference emphasised that with total autonomy and proper funding, electoral bodies could conduct a better election at both the state and national levels.

For two days, they will have the full opportunity to analyse and discuss ways of improving the electoral management processes in order to get future elections in the country right.