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General News of Monday, 30 October 2023


Fresh controversy looms as Tinubu appoints APC chieftains as top INEC officials

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu President Bola Ahmed Tinubu

An emerging report has confirmed that among the ten Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) nominated by President Bola Tinubu, at least two may be active members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Similarly, two other nominees are identified as long-time associates of influential politicians in the Tinubu administration. President Bola Tinubu approved the nomination of ten new INEC RECs.

The president made these selections in accordance with the powers granted to him by Section 154 (1) of the Nigerian constitution and Section 6 of the Electoral Act (2022), as stated by his spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale.

As reported by Premium Times, he said: “President Tinubu expects the new appointees to abide by the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct in the discharge of their duties.”

The nominees are Etekamba Umoren (Akwa Ibom State), Isah Ehimeakne (Edo), Oluwatoyin Babalola (Ekiti), Abubakar Ma’aji (Gombe), Shehu Wahab (Kwara), Bunmi Omoseyindemi (Lagos) and Aminu Idris (Nasarawa).

Others are Mohammed Yelwa (Niger), Anugbum Onuoha (Rivers), Isma’ila Moyi and (Zamfara).

INEC appointee ties with Tinubu

Nonetheless, it has come to light that at least four Regional Electoral Commissioners (RECs) nominated by Mr Tinubu have apparent affiliations with him, the All Progressives Congress (APC), or politicians within his government.

These individuals include Mr. Umoren, Mr. Shaka, Mr. Omoseyindemi, and Mr. Onuoha.

1. Mr Umoren

Mr. Umoren is a member of the APC and a long-standing ally of Senate President Godswill Akpabio. He served as the Chief of Staff at the Akwa Ibom State Government House during Mr. Akpabio's tenure as the state's governor from 2007 to 2014.

2. Mr Shaka

Another nominee, Isah Shaka, openly supports Mr Tinubu and the APC, as evident from his numerous social media posts before, during, and after the 2023 general elections, which exhibited his strong bias towards Mr Tinubu and his political party.

3. Omoseyindemi Bunmi

Omoseyindemi, nominated as the REC for Lagos, has received political patronage from Mr. Tinubu and his associates since 2001. He was appointed the chairman of the Lagos State Traditional Medicine Board in 2001 when Mr. Tinubu was the state's governor, a role he held until 2015. In 2016, he was appointed as an electoral commissioner in the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) by then-Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who was also a supporter of Mr Tinubu.

4. Mr Onuoha

Mr. Onuoha, another REC nominee, has strong ties to a high-ranking official in the Tinubu administration. He has closely connected with the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike. Mr Onuoha served as a Special Adviser on Lands and Surveys to Mr Wike until 2019, when he was recognized as a traditional leader in Rumuepirikom, Obio/Akpor Local Government area in the state, the same community where Mr Wike originates.

Before he was appointed a Special Adviser to Mr Wike, Mr Onuoha held the position of Commissioner of Legal and Political Parties Monitoring at the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) in 2007, appointed by then-Governor Rotimi Amaechi, under the leadership of the late Nimi Briggs, an emeritus professor.