President Muhammadu Buhari has received requests to remove accused All Progressives Congress (APC) members from their positions as resident electoral commissioners before the general elections in 2023. (RECs).
In a statement released on Sunday by Kolawole Oluwadare, the deputy director of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, the project appealed.
Recall that resident Buhari, in a letter to the Senate on July 25, requested the confirmation of the 19 RECs for the Independent National Electoral Commission.
However, according to the rights organisation, at least four of the 19 applicants either belonged to a political party or had previously been charged with corruption.
SERAP, therefore, wants 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.”
The group asserts that international standards, the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended), and the Electoral Act together require that elections be organised by a genuinely independent and impartial electoral authority.
“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,” the statement read.
“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 who are not members of any political party as RECs, would be entirely 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 exercising its constitutional and statutory responsibilities.”
The Buhari-led administration, according to SERAP, has a legal obligation to support and guarantee the independence, credibility, and integrity of INEC, as well as to make sure that it is free from political and other interferences.