Following the controversy generated over the nomination of some persons by President Muhammadu Buhari to serve as Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the federal government has called for patience for the process to be exhausted.
Some civil society organisations, prominent among which was Socio-economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), had alleged that some of the nominees, whose names President Buhari passed on to the Senate, are card-carrying members of political parties and others standing trial on corruption charges.
However, reacting to the allegation, minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, pointed out that it would be premature to expect the president to act on yet-to-be-proven allegations, noting that the media trial of nominees is unfair.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the federal executive council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, the minister said electioneering has changed under Buhari.
He said, “I think you are going to be very fair to Mr. President. Over the last couple of years, you had very transparent, free, and fair elections. We all know what used to obtain before we came. Before we came, it was quite almost impossible for a ruling party to lose any election in any state, maybe governorship.
“We’ve witnessed, whether in Anambra, whether in Osun, that Mr. President has lived up to his commitment to free and fair elections and I’m sure the same will apply come 2023.
“As to the nominees that are being challenged by social media warriors and by some critics, I don’t think it is the business of the President to immediately throw out the nominees, based on allegations which have not been proven.
“I think the whole idea is that these people will go for confirmation in the National Assembly, the same questions that are being raised in the public domain will be asked there.
“I think this media trial is quite worrisome because even when these people are cleared of any wrongdoings, nobody comes back to apologise to them. So, my advice is, yes, there’ll be allegations against anybody. It does not mean that that fellow is guilty. Let’s wait for the process to be completed”, he said.
Mohammed also spoke about the issue of fuel queues developing in and around Abuja, describing it as a local matter, which is being resolved.
“I’m aware of the queue in some parts of Abuja, but my investigations showed that is rather a local matter and I think it will be resolved very soon.
“With respect to the Orosanye Report, I think what Mr. President said was that the Presidency will review that report and act upon it”, he said.