The Nigerian Senate has begun the screening and confirmation of the 27 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Chairman of the senate committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Senator Suleiman Nazif, used the occasion to reaffirm the commitment of the legislature to the success of elections in the country.
Senator Nazif urged all the stakeholders especially members of the political class, and the electoral umpires to demonstrate genuine determination towards sanitizing the country’s political environment ahead of future elections.
“Let’s work towards improving the environment of politics and elections in Nigeria, and ensure that the conduct and disposition of individuals also change for the good of all. We want to assure INEC that the senate and indeed the National Assembly will do its best to ensure free, fair and transparent elections in Nigeria irrespective of party affiliations,” he said.
One of the INEC Commissioner designates, and the first to appear before the senators, Professor Godswill Obioma, said to sustain the successes recorded so far in the previous election, every election umpire must endeavour to uphold the ethics of transparency, honesty, integrity, and fairness to all parties involved during any election.
“Electoral violence is a spontaneous response to injustice, so if I deny you your rights, you may likely react violently, and for most human beings that is the way they react,” he stated.
“I think that if we create a platform that breeds an environment which people see to be fair and firm, an environment that people see that there is equity, an environment in which peoples’ rights are respected, an environment in which the dictum of one man one vote is done, and it is seen to be done, it will reduce violence,” he added.
Professor Obioma also identified pre-election enlightenment campaigns and consistent voter education as issues that must be taken more seriously by the INEC in order to sustain the trend of credible and transparent elections in the country.
Voice of Nigeria gathered that only six out of the twenty seven appointees were screened by the Senate committee on day one of the exercise which continues on Thursday.
Those screened are, Godswill Obioma (Abia), Ibrahim Abdullahi (Adamawa), James Apam (Benue), Nkwachukwu Orji (Ebonyi), Illoh Joseph Chuks (Enugu), Asmau Sani Maikudi (Katsina).