Published On: Thu, Jul 20th, 2017

Senate Makes U-turn, Confirms 8 RECs, Rejects 1

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By Nuel Suji – The Senate has confirmed the appointment of eight Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Senate made a shift from its earlier position to confirm eight out of the 12 nominees. It rejected one and stepped down three others for further consideration.

At the plenary on Wednesday, the Senate Committee on INEC had laid its report on the 12 RECs nominees at the chamber for consideration.

While presenting the report on Thursday, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Suleiman Nazif (APC, Bauchi), said the panel rejected the nomination of Professor Mustapha Zubairu (Niger) on the ground that the nominee comes from the same local government area with the Federal Commissioner of INEC for North-Central.

The panel also suspended confirmation of two other nominees, Mahmuda Isah (Kebbi) and Ahmad Bello Mahmud (Zamfara) for “further legislative considerations.”

The confirmation process however took a different turn when the Deputy Minority Whip, Senator Biodun Olujimi (PDP, Ekiti), raised a point of order to object to the confirmation of the Lagos nominee, Ambassador Rufus Oloruntoyin Akeju.

Olujimi contended that there is a court ruling against the confirmation of Ambassador Akeju.

“Mr. President, I have a court ruling against him, saying he cannot be confirmed as Resident Electoral Commissioner. He went to appeal but his appeal was struck out. The document is here with me,” she said.

The confirmed nominees include; Asmau Maikudi (Katsina), Sam Olumekun (Ondo),  Riskuwa Shehu (Sokoto),  Kasim Geidam (Yobe), Jibrin Zarewa (Kano),  Abdulganiyu Raji (Oyo), Samuel Egwu (Kogi) and Mike Igini (Delta).

However, a point of order by Eyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia) sought to halt the confirmation, drawing attention to a subsisting Senate resolution in which it decline further confirmation of president’s nominees following an alleged offensive comments credited to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki said the senate resolution remains but that it does not apply to nominees who confirmations are expressly mandated by the constitution.

Saraki congratulated the confirmed nominees called on them to discharge their duties creditably, urging that the conduct of a free and fair election is the hallmark of democracy.

“They should display highest level of integrity,” he concluded.

It would be recalled that the Senate on 1st June 2017 stalled the confirmation of 12 out of the 27 REC nominees sent to it by President Muhammadu Buhari in March.

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