By Angela Atabo
The Coalition of Democratic Watchdogs of Nigeria, an accredited observer group,has called for the reconsideration of the names of alleged political party members as Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in the recent appointment.
The call was made in a statement jointly signed by Princewill Michael, convener of the group for domestic observers and Ms Markatso Ramatubele ,representing foreign Observers on Wednesday in Abuja .
Michael said that the group has been working with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),on election matters like election observation ,voter education among others for sustainable of the nation’s democracy .
“Our Coalition noted with dismay the recent appointment of RECs for INEC, by the President and Commander-in-Chief, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu,.
“Upon our independent verification and fact-finding exercise conducted, we unravelled that four out of the 10 appointees are card carrying members of a particular political party.
“This contradicts clearly the provisions of the extant laws as provided by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“The third schedule to the Nigerian 1999 Constitution prohibits the appointment of a partisan person into INEC in Item F, paragraph 14.”
Michael said,’there would be for each State of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, a Resident Electoral Commissioner who shall be a person of unquestionable integrity and shall not be a member of any political party,” sec on 14, 3(b) states.
“Our coalition, hereby raise concerns about the integrity of the electoral process, the risk associated with the appointment of partisan individuals to such sensitive position.
“We hereby express fears that such appointments could compromise the independence and impartiality of INEC leading to biased, unfair and unjust elections in Nigeria.”
Michael said that the coalition was thereby drawing the attention of the presidency it the issue.
He said the same thing happened during former President Mohammadu Buhari’s tenure when Ms Lauretta Onochie was appointed as REC but was rejected since she was a political party member.
“The appointment of partisan individuals as RECs could lead to chaos and violence during elections.
‘We therefore, call on the President to reconsider the appointment of Mr Etekamba Umoren, from Akwa Ibom,Mr Isah Shaka, from Edo, Ms Omoseyindemi Bunmi, Lagos and Anugbum Onuoha, from Rivers state.”
Michael said this was because, they are card carrying members of of the telling party the All Progressives Congress (APC), so appointing them as RECs in INEC would amount to an apparent contradiction of the Constitution.
He calles on the Senate to reject the confirmation of the names.(NAN)