The Northern Emancipation Network (NEN) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw the list of Commissioners nominated to fill vacancies in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and retain people with integrity just like himself.
Recall that President Buhari had written to the Senate, seeking the confirmation of the nominees as National Commissioners and Resident Electoral Commissioner for INEC.
The nominees are: Mallam Mohammed Haruna (North-Central) – National Commissioner; Mrs May Agbamuche Mbu (South-South) – National Commissioner; Okeagu Kenneth Nnamdi (South-East) – National Commissioner; Maj. Gen. A.B. Alkali (retd.) (North-East) – National Commissioner; Engr. Prof. Rada H Gumus (South-South) – National Commissioner; Mr Sam Olumeku (South-West) – National Commissioner, and Olaniyi Olaleye Ijalaye (Ondo State) – Resident Electoral Commissioner.
But NEN has asked Buhari to withdraw the list as he did with the initial NNPC Board members and retain only people with integrity.
A statement issued by the group’s General Secretary, Abba Suleiman Abdulazeez, said President Buhari should consider the growing concerns over the quality of nominees forwarded to the Senate for confirmation as National Commissioners.
“We categorically align with the disappointment expressed by the AYCF that the list clearly excluded known persons of solid reputation and commitment to credible elections since they were appointed to the nation’s Election Management Body in 2011.
“We are of the firm view that elections are the most important process that gives Nigerians the opportunity to alter the course of development that can change their lives. We are opposed to any form of electoral banditry that will put this country into a deeper problem in addition to the current situation of things in Northern Nigeria and many other parts of the country, with growing insecurity and ineffectual governance at the grassroots.
“The President should create an enabling electoral environment for Nigerians to choose their leaders in local Elections and this can only be possible if reliable men and women of integrity are in place to superintend over elections as National and Resident Electoral Commissioners.
It is therefore with deep concern that we ask the President to reconsider the list with a view to nominating people of integrity like himself who have the capacity to deliver credible elections,” NEN said.
The Northern group said the best practice around the world is that where people of integrity and competence are discovered, you retain them and promote them to inspire others.
“People of integrity should be allow to grow and not exit or remove them for people whose pedigree are not known by the public because perception is a key factor in election management.
It is a disservice to the country that people identified as capable of upholding the integrity of the electoral process without blemish that the President should retain as pillars upon which more like them will do the job in such a manner as to gain more public trust for the electoral institution are exited or sidelined from the election management body.
“We respectfully call on the President to review the choice of nominees and go for the likes of Prof Okey lbeanu, who delivered a credible election of Anambra. We are worried why he was denied tenure renewal.
“The honest AVM Mauzu, Engr. Nahuche, the disciplined and performing Resident Electoral Commissioners such as the (RECs) of Sokoto, Akwa-Ibom and a few others who demonstrated character and integrity in the 2019 election.
“This call is inspired by their demonstrated effectiveness, integrity, capacity and their high sense of public service.
“We restate that RECs with integrity, credibility and consistency particularly during the 2019 election should not be exited from the system because they uphold high value and committed to the good of the country. The president should act as he did few days ago with the new NNPC Board.
“Mr President should therefore diligently review the list of nominees to the Senate by making changes, that will restore the faith of Nigerians in the coming 2023 elections. There should be no manipulation of the Electoral Management institutions by vested interests around the President who are bent on destroying his proven integrity and his remaining opportunity to leave behind an enduring electoral legacy that history and future Nigerians will remember him for.
“Mr President should thus take significant steps for sake of national interest and a need to deepen democracy in Nigeria to recall the list sent to the Senate and appoint people who have proven records of commitment to credible election that Nigerians can have confidence in as the 2023 elections approach,” the group stated.