from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – COMPLAINTS are escalating after President Muhammadu Buhari nominated election commissioners, individuals either linked to the ruling party or accused of corruption.
Their nomination comes ahead of next year’s general elections.
The imminent appointment of the loyalists of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is imminent as Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and other positions of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) said this cast doubts on the holding of free, fair and credible elections in 2023.
CNPP argued having been a beneficiary of a coup in 1983 as a military head of state and later transforming into a democrat and elected as president in 2015, it would be “extremely unfair” to Nigeria for Buhari to scuttle the transition to another administration in 2023.
Willy Ezugwu, CNPP’s Secretary General, pointed the Constitution states that “a member of the commission shall be non-partisan and a person of unquestionable integrity.”
According to the Constitution, “a Resident Electoral Commissioner shall be a person of unquestionable integrity and shall not be a member of any political party.”
“Therefore, if President Buhari is indeed a democrat and a hater of injustice as he poses, the appointment of the suspected APC members should be immediately reversed by Mr President,” Ezugwu said.
Last week, some civil society organisations (CSOs) also expressed qualms over the nomination of some individuals to INEC.
Among people queried are Muhammad Lawal Bashir a governorship aspirant under the APC in the 2015 elections, and Sylvia Uchenna Agu, who, is believed to be the younger sister of an APC deputy regional chairman.
Others are Pauline Onyeka Ugochi, a former INEC Head of Information Technology, who was in 2015 accused of alleged corruption and connivance with politicians to undermine elections, and Elizabeth Agwu, a former regional Accountant-General who was suspended for alleged incompetence and corruption in 2016.
Nigerians will next year elect a new president to succeed Buhari, who cannot participate because of the two-term limit.
– CAJ News