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Buhari won’t withdraw REC nominations, minister tells critics

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Minister of Information and Culture, Lai MohammedThe Federal Government said on Wednesday that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), will not withdraw the names of some nominees for Resident Electoral Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission based on “social media trials.”

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

He also urged Nigerians to allow the process to take its course, including the imminent screening of the REC nominees by the National Assembly.

Buhari, on July 26, sent the names of 19 INEC REC nominees to the Senate to be confirmed.

Of the 19, five were reappointed for a second five-year term, while 14 others were new appointees.

However, Buhari has come under fire from Nigerians for nominating some individuals believed to be card-carrying members of the ruling All Progressives Congress.

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, fielding questions on 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.

“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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