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RECs: Withdrew List Of Nominees, Consult Council Of State – Femi Falana Tells Buhari

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Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana on Sunday, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw the list of nominees he sent to the senate for confirmation as Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Buhari had in July sent a list of 19 nominees to the Senate for confirmation as RECs.

The list was opposed by some civil society organisations (CSOs) on the grounds that some nominees on the list are partisan as well as having “questionable character.”

Femi Falana

Falana Wants Wants Buhari To Withdraw List Of Nominees As INEC RECs

In his statement, Falana argued that the president is mandated to consult the council of state before submitting names of nominees, in line with the provisions of section 154(3) of the constitution.

He also said there is the need for relevant security agencies to investigate the nominees before confirmation.

“Since 2015, President Buhari had consulted the council of state whenever he wanted to appoint the Chairman and members of the Independent National Electoral Commission including Resident Electoral Commissioners in strict compliance with the provisions of Section 154(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999,” the statement reads.

“On each occasion, the president consulted the council of state before submitting the names of nominees to the senate for confirmation in line with Section 154(1) of the Constitution. But for some undisclosed reasons, the president has forwarded the nominations of 14 persons for confirmation as resident electoral commissioners without any prior consultation with the council of state.

“Apart from the constitutional infraction, the list of the nominees has been challenged on the ground that some of them are card-carrying members of the ruling party. At least two other nominees are alleged to be under investigation for serious electoral malpractice. Instead of subjecting the nominees to integrity tests, the federal government has dismissed such grave allegations with a wave of the hand.

“Having repeatedly assured the Nigerian people that the administrators will support INEC to conduct credible elections in 2023 we call on President Buhari to withdraw the controversial list from the Senate and ensure that the nominees are investigated by relevant security agencies.

“After security clearance, the president is advised to comply with section 154(3) of the Constitution by consulting the council of state with respect to the qualification and competence of the nominees. It is after the consultation that the names of the nominees that are qualified should be presented to the Senate for confirmation.”

The human rights lawyer also added that the list has been opposed by women groups for not being gender inclusive and so the president should ensure gender equality.

“However, in view of the opposition to the list of nominees by a number of women’s groups on grounds of gender discrimination, it is pertinent to draw the attention of the President to the judgment delivered by the Federal High Court on April 10, 2022, in the case of Women Empowerment and Legal Aid & Ors v Attorney-General of the Federation (Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/ 2021) wherein the Honourable Justice Donatus Okorowo ordered the federal government to comply with the 35 per cent affirmative action for women, which allows women to occupy 35 per cent of all appointments,” he added.

Since the judgment is binding on all authorities and persons in Nigeria pursuant to section 287 of the Constitution the President should ensure that the women in the list of nominees should not be less than 35 percent.”

In other news, Kanyi Daily had reported that the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu said the commission’s result portal came under attack by hackers from Asia during the Ekiti and Osun State governorship elections.

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