Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, has warned that the appointment of members of political parties as Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) will complicate the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC’s) efforts to conduct credible elections.
Falana, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, was commenting 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.
“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,” Falana said.
“You complicate the problem for INEC to have credible elections.”
Following the appointment of 10 new RECs for INEC by President Bola Tinubu, Civil Society Organisations and some other Nigerians raised alarm about some of the appointees, who were said to have political affiliations, asking the Senate not to confirm them.
However, the Senate confirmed all the nominees as RECs.
Falana, who said three of the appointees are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) while one is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), condemned their confirmation by the Senate.
He said the PDP in Akwa Ibom State has gone to court to challenge the appointment of Mr Etekamba Umoren, who was a former Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, an APC chieftain in Akwa Ibom State as the REC for the state.
According to the SAN, the appointment of three other RECs should be challenged in court. He also added that if the courts prove that these appointments are illegal, then their Senate confirmation cannot legitimize them.
“I’m not saying that they should not be appointed,” Falana said.
“But they should not be card-carrying members of political parties”
“These appointments are a recipe for disaster,” he added.
“And if INEC is serious about conducting credible elections, they should reverse these appointments.”