Human rights lawyer Femi Falana has warned President Muhammadu Buhari not to compromise the 2023 general elections with his controversial list of nominees to serve as INEC members and commissioners. He accused Mr Buhari of circumventing the constitution by failing to consult the Council of State before submitting a list of nominees to the senate.
Mr Buhari had, on July 26, forwarded the names of 19 nominees as REC into INEC to the National Assembly for confirmation. Out of the 19 nominees, he reappointed five, while 14 others were new appointees. But this came as Mr Buhari faced heavy criticism for nominating individuals alleged to be APC card-carrying members.
“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,” Mr Falana pointed attention in a statement.
He added, “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.”
Mr Falana noted that at least two other nominees “are alleged to be under investigation for serious electoral malpractice,” wondering that instead of subjecting the nominees to “integrity tests,” the Buhari regime “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,” Mr Falana declared.
He further explained that 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.”
Mr Falana stressed that 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 called on Mr Buhari to ensure gender balance by keeping to the 35 per cent affirmative action for women in the list of nominees, citing a federal high court ruling of April 10 in the case of “Women Empowerment and Legal Aid and Legal Aid & Ors v Attorney-General of the Federation (Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/ 2021).”
Source: Peoples Gazette
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