Buhari won’t withdraw INEC REC nominees accused of corruption, partisanship, says Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government said that President Muhammadu Buhari will not withdraw the names of some nominees for Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) recently accused of corruption and partisanship.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this to journalists in Presidential Villa, Abuja, shortly after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting Wednesday, September 7, 2022.

The minister described the allegations as a media trial and said the trend is worrisome. He noted that it is not the business of the President to discard the names until proven otherwise.

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Mr Buhari had on 26 July, sent 19 names to the Senate for confirmation as RECs.

A coalition of civil society organisations noted that the nominee from Sokoto State, Northwestern Nigeria, was an APC governorship aspirant in 2015, while another nominee from Enugu State is allegedly the younger sister of the APC Deputy National Chairman, Emma Eneukwu.

Similarly, the CSOs alleged that the nominee from Imo State, Mrs Pauline Ugochi, who is a former Head of ICT at INEC in Imo, is known for conniving with politicians to undermine elections, while the nominee from Ebonyi State, Mrs Queen Agwu was suspended in 2016 over allegations of incompetence and corruption.

Meanwhile, reacting to the issue on Wednesday, Mohammed said, “As to the nominees that are being challenged by social media warriors and by some critics, I don’t think it is the business of the President to immediately throw out a nominee based on allegations which have not been proven.

“I think the whole idea is that these people will go for confirmation in the National Assembly; the same questions that are being raised in the public domain will be asked there.

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“I think this media trial is quite worrisome because when these people are cleared of any wrongdoing, nobody comes back to apologise to them. So, my advice is that there will be allegations made against anyone but it does not mean that that fellow is guilty. Let’s wait for the process to be completed.

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