Despite Protest By CSOs, Senate Confirms ‘APC Member’, 6 Others As INEC Commissioners

The Senate, on Wednesday, confirmed seven nominees appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari as National Commissioners and Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

This is despite protest by civil society organisations (CSOs) against the confirmation of one of the nominees, Engr. (Prof.) Rhoda H. Gumus from Bayelsa State as National Commissioner representing South-South.

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) had in a January 26, 2022 petition to the leadership of the National Assembly alleged that Prof. Gumus “is a card carrying member of the All progressives Congress (APC),” saying her nomination was in breach of the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act 2010 (both as amended).

Similarly, Concerned Nigerians Group in another petition signed by its convener, Deji Adeyanju, said: “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. This is a direct threat to the nation’s electoral process and the ultimate security of Nigeria as a democratic nation.”


Meanwhile, the confirmation of the nominees followed the consideration of a report presented by the Senate Committee on INEC chaired by Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano South).

Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Gaya, in his presentation, recalled that the confirmation request was made by President Muhammadu Buhari in compliance with the provision of Section 153(1)(f) of the Constitution, and pursuant to the provision of Section 154(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

He, however, acknowledged that the Committee received only one petition from the Taraba Elders Forum against the nomination of Maj. Gen. A. B. Alkali (Rtd.) over “the seeming inconsistency in the rotation of the nomination”.

According to Gaya, the Taraba Elders Forum stated that the nomination started from Taraba (2003 – 2008), Adamawa (2008 – 2015) and Gombe (2015 – 2021).


He added that petitioners observed that it was the turn Taraba State to produce the nominee against the backdrop of the principle of rotation.

Gaya, however, explained that the Committee resolved that all the states (Taraba, Adamawa and Gombe) had been nominated between 2003 and 2021, therefore, it was the prerogative of the President to pick his nominee from any of the three states.

Others nominees confirmed include: Mal. Mohammed Haruna (Niger – North Central, National Commissioner); Mrs May Agbamuche-Mbu (Delta – South South, National Commissioner); Ukeagu Kenneth Nnamdi (Abia – South East, National Commissioner); and Major General A. B. Alkali (Rtd) – Adamawa (North East, National Commissioner).

Also confirmed were Mr. Sam Olumekun (Ondo – South West, National Commissioner); and Olaniyi Olaleye Ijalaye (Ondo – South West, Resident Commissioner).

Lawmakers, including the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege and Senator James Manager, spoke highly of the competence and credibility of the President’s nominees.

The Senate President, in his remarks after the nominees were confirmed, congratulated them while noting that the 2023 general election would be a “baptism of fire” to test their efficiency.


He added that the National Assembly would support the electoral body to ensure the conduct of free and transparent elections in 2023.

Lawan said, “They (confirmed nominees) would have a baptism of fire because 2023 is just by the corner.

“In fact, the process has already started, as INEC may soon announce the dates of elections and then the subsequent process.

“We expect nothing less than excellence from our electoral body.

“This Senate has confirmed National Commissioners and Resident Commissioners before.

“We have done this today, and INEC now has full compliment of the people that need to do the work.

“INEC also gets the support of the National Assembly through appropriations and, therefore, it would have no reason not to perform.

“We are also expecting that the Electoral Bill amendment will be signed, and if that happens, INEC would have a document to guide it through, even in the off season before the 2023 general elections.

“Therefore, Nigerians are expectant that INEC will perform creditably well.

“[And] for us in the National Assembly, we will always be there for INEC because we believe that it is in the interest of Nigeria and our citizens to have free and transparent elections to determine the leadership of this country at all levels


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here