Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw alleged members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) nominated as Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs).
President Buhari on July 25, requested the federal lawmakers to confirmat names of 19 RECs for the Independent National Electoral Commission.
But in a statement on Sunday by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP said that at least four of the 19 nominees allegedly either belonged to a political party or had been previously indicted for corruption.
The organisation, therefore, called Buhari to use his “leadership position to urgently withdraw the names of nominees recently submitted to the Senate for confirmation as Resident Electoral Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission who are allegedly members of the All Progressives Congress.”
It said that the combined effect of the Nigerian Constitution1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act and international standards is the requirement that elections must be organised by a truly independent and impartial electoral body.
The statement read,“Withdrawing the names of those nominees who are allegedly members of the APC, and replacing them with people of unquestionable integrity and competence, and who are not members of any political party would improve the independence of INEC and promote public confidence in the appointment process.
“As its name suggests, INEC is expected to maintain independence or absolute neutrality. INEC must not only be independent and impartial, but must also be seen to be independent and impartial.
“Promoting the independence of INEC, including by appointing people of unquestionable integrity and competence, and who are not members of any political party as RECs would be entirely be consistent with your constitutional oath of office, and your oft-stated promise to ensure free and fair elections in 2023.
“INEC ought to be independent and impartial in the exercise of its constitutional and statutory responsibilities.”
SERAP further said that the Buhari-led government has a legal responsibility to promote and guarantee the integrity, credibility, and independence of INEC, and to ensure that the electoral body is free from political and other interferences.