The rumoured appointment of persons suspected to be members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) into the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by President Muhammadu Buhari has been rejected by a group known as the Conference Of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP).
In a statement, the organisation urged the President to immediately reverse the appointment as they cannot serve as Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and others if the electoral body is to conduct free and fair elections next year.
Nigeria heads to the polls in 2023 as the tenure of the current administration ends on May 29 and there have been calls to INEC to ensure it conducts a credible exercise.
In the statement, the Secretary General of CNPP, Mr Willy Ezugwu, said Mr Buhari, “having been a beneficiary of unconstitutional change of power in 1983 as a military head of state and later transformed into a democrat and eventually got the endorsement of Nigerians who elected him as President in 2015,” it would be extremely unfair to Nigeria for him to “scuttle the transition to another administration in 2023,” urging him to at least “pay Nigeria back with a free, fair and credible elections in 2023.”
“Section 14(2a) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) expressly states that “a member of the commission shall be non-partisan and a person of unquestionable integrity.
“In Section 14(3b) of the same Schedule of the Constitution states that “there shall be for each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja, a Resident Electoral Commissioner who 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.
“At the moment, the appointment of known partisan individuals and persons of questionable integrity into INEC is, to say the least, unconstitutional and a bait for political unrest and a mortgaging of free and fair electoral process which must be immediately corrected to boost the confidence of the electorate ahead of 2023 general elections”, the CNPP stated.
The CNPP recalled that a coalition of Civil Society Organisations, including the International Press Centre, had alleged that the INEC nominee from Sokoto was an APC governorship aspirant in 2015, alleging that the nominee for Enugu is the younger sister of the APC Deputy National Chairman, South East, among others accused of being persons of questionable