Hue And Cry Over New INEC Commissioners


The revelation that some of the newly appointed Commissioners at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are card-carrying members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is disheartening.

We find it disgusting and dishonest that President Goodluck Jonathan, who has promised Nigerians free and fair general elections next year, can now turn round and appoint those who will ultimately do the bidding of his party, the PDP.

The appointment of these partisan Resident Electoral Commissioners goes to show that the President and his advisers are not interested in a credible election in Nigeria.

Expectedly, the opposition parties in the country have expressed fear that since PDP candidates will contest in next year’s general elections, the partisan Commissioners will surely be working for them instead of being independent arbiters.

At the moment, the Action Congress has identified four of the commissioners appointed by Jonathan who are PDP members.

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The four Commissioners are: Ambassador Z. Anka, Major General Bagudu Mamman, Alhaji Yakubu Shehu and Mr. Eddy Nwatalari.

AC said that Anka contested the governorship election in Zamfara State on the platform of the PDP in 1999 while Mamman, a member of the Board of Trustees of PDP, contested Senatorial elections in 2003 and 2007 on the platform of the ruling party. It said that Shehu is the Chairman of PDP stakeholders in Giwa local council of Kaduna State. AC alleged that Nwatalari from Enugu is a card-carrying member of PDP.

The Executive Director of the Kaduna-based Human Rights Monitor (HRM) and member of the Uwais Committee on Electoral Reforms Panel, Mr. Festus Okoye, has urged President Jonathan to drop two of the national commissioners of INEC, Ambassador Mohammed and Mr. Eddy Nwatarali, alleging that they are card-carrying members of the ruling PDP.

“It has now been revealed that Ambassador Mohammed Anka, nominated as National Commissioner from Zamfara State is a card-carrying member of the Peoples Democratic Party and it has also been revealed that Mr. Eddy Nwatarali nominated as a Resident Electoral Commissioner is a card-carrying member of the PDP and only recently resigned as the Chairman of Ezeagu West Development Centre in Enugu State. We view their nomination and the nomination of other card-carrying members of political parties as a serious challenge to the building of a non partisan and credible electoral commission,” Okoye said.

With all these allegations from various quarters, we call on President Jonathan to toe the path of honour and do the right thing by dropping partisan commissioners and appointing credible people to organise next year’s general elections. Anything short of this will amount to a grand deception and an attempt to pool the wool over the eyes of Nigerians regarding President Jonathan’s  much touted promise to organise a free and fair election next year.

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