Falana Condemns Appointment of Resident Electoral Officers

The employment of political party members as resident electoral officers, according to human rights attorney Femi Falana, SAN, will exacerbate the issues the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is having holding credible elections.

Falana stated this during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily while speaking on the newly-appointed INEC RECs confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday and Thursday, some of whom were alleged to be members of political parties.

He said, “Successive regimes in Nigeria, Yar’Adua’s regime, Jonathan’s regime, and Buhari’s regime have all set up electoral reform committees or panels to make recommendations that will assist the government to have credible elections.

“In the case of President Tinubu as a leader of the CAN, he set up a committee for electoral reforms to campaign for the implementation of the recommendations of the Uwais Panel and one of them is that we must have independent umpires in every material particular.

“You can’t have a card-carrying member of a political party or a loyalist of a political party to be a Resident Electoral Commissioner or a national commissioner; you complicate the problem for INEC to have credible elections,” Falana said.

Following the appointment of ten new RECs for INEC by President Tinubu, civil society organizations, and other Nigerians voiced concerns regarding the appointees’ purported political ties. They asked that their confirmation by the Senate be denied. Nevertheless, the Senate affirmed each nomination as REC.

Falana criticized the Senate’s confirmation of the appointees, claiming that three of them are of the All Progressives Congress and one is of the Peoples Democratic Party.

The PDP in the state has filed a lawsuit challenging the appointment of Mr. Etekamba Umoren, a former chief of staff to Senate President Godswill Akpabio, an APC leader in Akwa Ibom State, as the state’s REC, the speaker continued.

The SAN believes that a legal challenge should be made against the appointment of three additional RECs. Additionally, he said that the Senate’s confirmation of these appointments would not be able to justify them if the courts determine that they are unlawful.

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