By Gabriel Ewepu

A Civil Society Organisation, CSOs, Concerned Nigerians, yesterday, petitioned the Senate over nomination of Prof Rhoda Gumus as National Electoral Commission Commissioner.

The petition was addressed to the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawal with subject, ‘Prof. Rhoda H. Gumus’ Nomination as National Electoral Commission Commissioner: Request to Halt the Gradual Descent Into an Irreversible Dangerous Slope’, and signed by the Convener, Concerned Nigerians, Deji Adeyanju, and made available to Vanguard.

According to Adeyanju, the nomination violates provisions of the Electoral Act, and the Senate should decline it in order to safeguard the nation’s electoral process.

The petition reads thus, “The letter We write, in our capacity, as a citizen led human right organization to offer a timely warning on the proposed confirmation of Prof. Rhoda Gumus as an INEC commissioner, in clear violation of the provisions of the extant Electoral Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

“You will recall that a few days ago, President Muhammadu Buhari conveyed the name of Prof Gumus to the Nigeria senate for confirmation as an INEC commissioner. While we recognise Prof. Gumus’s professional capabilities, we, however, which to state that her nomination runs contrary to the provisions of Paragraph 14 of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution as amended by Section 30, Act No 1 of 2010, which prohibits the appointment of a member of a political party as an Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) commissioner.

“On March 27, 2021, Prof Gumus registered as a card carrying member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as evidenced in her annexed APC’s membership card.”
The letter also pointed that this development has taken a disturbing pattern, and further reads, “A few months ago, President Buhari nominated Ms. Lauretta Onochie as an INEC Commissioner.

“The nomination was greeted with uproar across the political, religious and civil society divide, as a result of Ms. Onochie documented partisanship.Consequently, we submitted a petition to the National Assembly against her nomination, on the basis of which the National Assembly commendably rejected her nomination.

“However, despite the criticism that trailed Ms. Onochie’s nomination, we are deeply worried to note that the president, has, once again, nominated another card carrying member of the APC, as INEC commissioner.”

The group in the letter also described the situation as direct threat to the nation’s electoral process and the ultimate security of Nigeria as a democratic nation.

“With the foregoing in mind, we, therefore, strongly urge that Prof. Gumus’ nomination be rejected, on grounds of her obvious partisanship.

“You may note that Paragraph 14 of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution as amended by Section 30, Act No 1 of 2010, states that a member of the Independent National Electoral Commission shall be non-partisan.
“We wish to draw your attention to the fact that elections in Nigeria usually determine, to a large extent, the Nation’s fate. Accordingly, the senate must follow the precedent set in Ms. Onochie’s case by rejecting Prof. Gumus’ nomination.

“In the light of the foregoing, we hereby request that you take urgent steps to safeguard the nation’s present and future electoral process, by declining the nomination of Prof. Gumus’ as an INEC Commission.

“Please find attached to this petition, copies of the following documents evidencing Prof. Gumus partisanship;

a. A copy of her APC membership registration card

b. A copy of Prof. Gumus’ ward APC register showing her name at no. 27

c. Newspaper publications containing congratulatory messages to Prof. Gumus on her appointment.

“We urge you to safeguard our democracy.”

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