Senate confirms 6 INEC National Commissioners, 1 REC, despite petition

The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of 6 nominees of President Muhammadu Buhari, as national commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The upper legislative chamber also confirmed the nomination of a Resident Electoral Commissioner from Ondo State for INEC.

The confirmation of these appointments followed the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on INEC, under the leadership of Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano).

Gaya, in his laying of the committee’s report and presentation, said the nominees responded to the committee’s questions satisfactorily and assured of their integrity, non-partisanship, non-card-carrying membership of any political party and promised to discharge their assignments diligently and in accordance with extant laws and laid down rules.

The names of nominees confirmed as INEC National Commissioners include Mal. Mohammed Haruna, (Niger – North Central); Mrs May Agbamuche-Mbu (Delta – South-South); Ukeagu Kenneth Nnamdi (Abia – South East), and Major General A. B. Alkali (rtd) – Adamawa, (North East).

Others were Prof. Rhoda H. Gumus (Bayelsa – South-South) and Mr Sam Olumekan (Ondo – South West).
The senate also confirmed Olaniyi Olaleye Ijalaye (Ondo – South West) as a Resident Electoral Commissioner.

However, their confirmation was done by the Senate despite a petition to the National Assembly by some groups including the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), warning against the confirmation of Professor Rhoda Gumus’ nomination as National Commissioner for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) based on political membership.

They alleged in their petition addressed to the Senate leadership that it has uncovered material evidence that Gumus, a nominee for Bayelsa State, South-South, is a card-carrying member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Lawan, in his congratulatory message to the confirmed nominees, urged them to live up to expectations adding that as the 2023 general election draws near, INEC had no reason not to perform credibly well after getting much support from the National Assembly.

Speaking on the confirmation, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ono Agege, commended President Buhari for the 7 nominations as they are well-accomplished people.

What you should know

Recall that earlier in December 2021, President Buhari, in a letter to the senate requested the Red Chamber to confirm the 7 nominees and National Commissioners and Resident Electoral Commissioner for INEC.
Buhari explained that the request was made pursuant to paragraph 14 of Part (1) of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

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