By Sunday Ani
The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) has raised the alarm over the list of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) national commissioner nominees recently sent to the Senate for confirmation by President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the current nominees do not command public confidence because they are largely pro-establishment and partisan individuals.
A statement signed by the group’s president, Alhaji Shettima Yerima, and made available to Daily Sun yesterday, tasked President Buhari withdraw the list and appoint people who have proven records of commitment to electoral integrity that Nigerians already know nationwide.
The group said withdrawing the list would make Nigerians to have confidence in the preparation of the 2023 elections, even as it warned that the President’s refusal to withdraw the list would only portend bad omen for the coming general elections and beyond.
Describing the list of nominees as shocking and disappointing to Nigerians, the group wandered why persons of proven integrity have become endangered species under President Buhari.
“It is indeed shocking and highly disappointing to many Nigerians that the list containing names of Commissioners to be appointed into INEC clearly excluded persons that the Nigerian people have applauded for their undoubted commitment to credible elections, since they were appointed into the Election Management Body way back in 2011,” the group said.
The group listed such INEC officials with impeccable character and integrity and who have shown competence but are being treated with disdain to include Mike Igini, Prof. Okey lbeanu, Alhaji Sadiq Musa Abubakar, AVM Mu’azu and Nahuche among others.
The group noted that while no human being is indispensable, those who represent true reform and integrity of the electoral process should not be removed from the electoral body otherwise Nigerians should not expect credible elections in 2023.
Part of the statement read: “Why should Prof. Okey lbeanu, someone people in INEC regard as extremely brilliant with high integrity be denied tenure renewal because he supervised a credible election in Anambra?
“Why should an honest and straight-forward personality like AVM Mu’azu be refused a second tenure and why should the National Commissioner Engr. Nahuche, regarded as highly disciplined, resign from INEC when the electoral body needs such people to promote and propagate the institutional values INEC is meant to promote?
“Why should someone like the Sokoto State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Alhaji Sadiq Musa Abubakar, who demonstrated character and integrity in the 2019 election not be appointed as a National Commissioner?
“Why is it that under this administration, persons who demonstrate incorruptibility and high sense of integrity are either exited from the system or endangered while in service under the government of Mr. President who is reputed to be a man of integrity?
“Somebody like the Akwa-Ibom State REC, Mike Igini, during the 2015 elections stood his grounds at the risk of his life for credible elections that made it possible for President Buhari and others to win the election with legitimacy.
“Why is it that these exceptional kinds of people that the country truly need are now victims of the very system they have worked so hard to build and the system is being suffused with persons that will not lend legitimacy to election outcomes?”