ACN Warns Jonathan On REC Members

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to withdraw the nominations he has made to replace 8 of the 13 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) whose tenure has expired, since most of those being proposed as RECs have been found to be card-carrying members of his party, the PDP.

President Goodluck Jonathan

In a statement issued in Lagos on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the President should fill the slots through a transparent process that will lend credence to his transformation agenda, and will also allow him to adopt at least part of the recommendations of the Justice Uwais Panel on electoral reform.

It expressed total disappointment at the system adopted by the President to replace the RECs whose tenure has expired, saying Nigerians had expected him to seize the opportunity handed to him by the expiration of the tenure to start showing Nigerians his commitment to transparency and probity in the country’s electoral process.

“Nigerians had expected that in line with some of the recommendations of the Justice Uwais panel, the President would have caused the vacant posts of the RECs to be advertised and the names of those short-listed published so Nigerians can scrutinise them before they are interviewed and the successful ones among them appointed.

“Rather, the President opted to stick to the old, discredited way of doing things by handpicking known members and sympathisers of the PDP. This is wrong and calls to question the President’s commitment to his so-called transformation agenda,’’ ACN said.

The party particularly described as irksome and insensitive on the part of the President, his decision to reappoint Dr. George Ada, one of the RECs whose tenure has expired.

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“Dr. Ada was a speaker in Cross River House of Assembly during the tenure of Governor Donald Duke; if that is not partisanship, then we need another definition for the word. The same Dr. Ada presided over the 2007 election (as REC) in Benue state, which threw up David Mark, and it is common knowledge that the state’s election tribunal annulled that election.

“The same Dr. Ada presided over the controversial January 2011 governorship rerun in Delta state, as well as the state’s governorship election last April. Therefore it doesn’t take rocket science to know why this same person is being recycled,’’ ACN said.

The party also said Dr. Ada is not the only REC with an expired tenure who is scheming to be reappointed, as Mr. Austin Okogie, a protege of PDP chieftain Tony Anenih, is doing same.

It called on Nigerians to monitor closely the President’s plan to replace the 13 RECs to ensure transparency, saying this is not the first time the President will attempt or indeed smuggle in party members as RECs.

“About this time last year, the President nominated some people as RECs, only for Nigerians to discover that some of them were actually PDP members. Though some of them were dropped, others, like Eddie Watara from Enugu state, was clandestinely appointed as REC in Bayelsa after the noise had died down. The President will seek to repeat this if he is not checked,’’ACN said.

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