Federal Government, on Wednesday, expressed concern over allegations raised against some Resident Electoral Commissioner nominees of the Independent National Electoral Commission by the civil society organisations in the country.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who spoke on the matter while answering questions from State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said President Muhammadu Buhari would not be blackmailed by ongoing media trial against the nominees.
Some of the REC nominees have been accused of either being card-carrying members of the All Progressives Congress or relatives of key chieftains of the ruling party.
He said President Buhari would not throw out the names of some embattled nominees among 19 INEC REC sent to the Senate on July 26 for confirmation based on allegations that had not been proved.
Mohammed, who berated “social media trial”, urged the critics to take their case to the Senate that has the constitutional power to screen the nominees.
He restated the commitment of President Buhari to free, fair and credible polls in the 2023 general elections.
The Minister said, “I think you are going to be very fair to Mr. President. Over the last couple of years, you had very transparent, free and fair elections. We all know what used to obtain before we came.
“Before we came, it was quite almost impossible for a ruling party to lose election in any state maybe governorship. But that has changed under President Muhammadu Buhari. This is because the President has insisted on free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.
“So, there are no basis for anyone to express doubt that the 2023 general elections will not be free, fair and credible. Mr. President has been clear on this and that will not change in 2023 general elections.
“And these could be seen in the governorship elections in Edo, Anambra, Ekiti states and recently in Osun state where the incumbent Governor lost the election. Mr. President has lived up to his commitment to free and fair elections and I’m sure the same will apply come 2023.
“As to the nominees that are being challenged by social media warriors and by some critics, I don’t think it is the business of the President to immediately throw out the nominees, based on allegations which have not been proven.
“I think the whole idea is that these people will go for confirmation in the National Assembly, the same questions that are being raised in the public domain will be asked there.
“I think this media trial is quite worrisome because even when these people are cleared of any wrong doings, nobody comes back to apologise to them. So, my advice is, yes, there’ll be allegations against anybody. It does not mean that that fellow is guilty. Let’s wait for the process to be completed.”