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Inec Commissioners: Disquiet Over Appointment Of Ex-pdp Gov Candidate - Politics - Nairaland

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Inec Commissioners: Disquiet Over Appointment Of Ex-pdp Gov Candidate by youngmonie: 11:35am On Oct 25, 2011
PALPABLE tension currently reigns in the Independent National Electoral Commission following last Thursday’s confirmation of appointment of individuals believed to be card-carrying members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party as electoral commissioners.

Sources in the headquarters office of INEC in Abuja told one of our correspondents on Sunday that a gale of resignations might soon hit the commission if the trend was not halted.
One of the sources said the appointment of at least three persons among those confirmed by the Senate contravened provisions of Section 153 and 156 of the 1999 Constitution (As amended).

Section 153 outlines federal executive bodies whose members are not required to be card-carrying members of political parties.

Section 156 (1a) and Part 1 of the 3rd Schedule single out INEC in this regard because of the need to make it truly independent of political manoeuvres.

But individuals and groups have queried the confirmation of the appointment of Nigeria’s ambassador to Mexico, Ambassador Lawrence Nwuruku, as a National Electoral Commissioner representing the South-East in INEC.

The confirmation was sequel to the submission of the report of the Senate Committee on INEC, which earlier screened the nominees as requested by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Others confirmed include Sylvester Okey Ezeani (Anambra); Minkaila Abdulahi (Jigawa); Dr. Lawrence Azubuike (Imo), Sam Olumekun (Ondo); Prof. Istifanus Dafwang (Plateau); Mrs. Gesila Khan (Bayelsa); Samuel Madaki (Taraba); and Dr. Gabriel Ada (Cross River).

There are fears that one of the persons cleared for the position of a REC is being positioned as a hatchet man in one of the states where governorship election is billed for next year.

The particular appointee was also said to have won election into the House of Assembly in his home state on the platform of the PDP in the past and still remained a strong member.

A source, who is a high ranking official in INEC and who is worried by the latest development, noted that the little progress made in the commission in the handling of the 2011 general elections was a product of the commitment of the Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, and a handful of committed commissioners and electoral officers.

The source said, "We thought with the retirement and end of tenure of the 13 people being replaced, the Commission will enjoy a new lease of life because some of them were known to have soiled our reputation.

"But what we have seen is a deliberate attempt by some people to take the Commission back to its pre-2011 election position.

"If this is allowed to happen, I am afraid you will begin to see mass resignations by those of us who hold our integrity and the love of Nigeria dearly."

Spokesman for Jega, Mr. Kayode Idowu, in an interview with THE PUNCH however denied any threat of mass resignations by staff of the commission.

"If anybody has a case against any of the appointees it should be taken up with the appointing authorities. There are political appointees and career civil servants within the Commission, so which of these are threatening to resign?" Idowu asked.

A Kaduna based legal practitioner and human rights activist, Festus Okoye, told our correspondent on the telephone on Sunday that Jonathan was courting legal trouble with the confirmation of the appointment of Nwuruku as National Commissioner of INEC.

Okoye, who is also the Coordinator of the Independent Election Monitoring Group, threatened to sue the President if he did not withdraw the nomination of Nwuruku. 

Nwuruku, who hails from Ebonyi State, replaces former INEC National Commissioner in charge of information, Philip Umeadi. Okoye said Nwuruku’s nomination contravened provisions of section 156 of the 1999 constitution (As amended).

He said, "Chief Lawrence Nwuruku is currently Nigeria’s Ambassador to Mexico and was nominated to the said position on the basis of his membership of the Peoples Democratic Party. In the 2003, he contested governorship election in Ebonyi State under the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party.

"During the 2007 elections, he contested for the same position under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

He said, "Chief Lawrence Nwuruku is currently Nigeria’s Ambassador to Mexico and was nominated to the said position on the basis of his membership of the Peoples Democratic Party. In the 2003, he contested governorship election in Ebonyi State under the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party.

"During the 2007 elections, he contested for the same position under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

"He was the state Coordinator, 2007 Peoples Democratic Party Presidential/Governorship Campaign organisation in Ebonyi State. He is formerly a National Commissioner in the Independent National Electoral Commissioner and left to join partisan politics."

Efforts to get the reactions of the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Rufai Alkali, were not successful as he could not be reached through his mobile phone. He also did not respond to the SMS sent to his phone on the issue.

But a member of the party’s National Working Committee, who pleaded anonymity, said that it would be difficult for any party to rig with the way INEC conducted the last elations.

On the allegation that the new commissioners are pro-PDP, he said, "There is no Nigerian that is not inclined to any political party. These commissioners are individuals. They do not rig. Those who rig are on the field."

The PDP NWC member said the PDP would win in future elections without rigging, adding that Jonathan’s administration was committed to free and fair elections.

Section 156 of the 1999 constitution reads: "No person shall be qualified for appointment as a member of any of the bodies aforesaid if- (a) he is not qualified or if he is disqualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives; provided that a member of any of these bodies shall not be required to belong to a political party, and in the case of the Independent National Electoral Commission, he shall not be a member of a political party."


http://www.punchng.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=2399:inec-commissioners-disquiet-over-appointment-of-ex-pdp-gov-candidate-others&Itemid=542

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