BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – The Senate on Wednesday, adopted the recommendation of its Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), by rejecting the nomination of Mr. Raheem Muideen as a Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) representing Osun State.
Muideen had admitted before the Senate Committee during his screening on November 5, 2019, that he remained a bona fide member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
While presenting the report of his Committee on Wednesday, Senator Kabiru Gaya, explained that Muideen’s nomination was not recommended for confirmation owing to his failure to defend the allegations of bias levelled against him by a petitioner.
The 46 years old Muideen, an academic told the Senate panel that he was a bona fide member of the ruling APC thereby confirming a petition against his nomination by one Oyebade Adebisi, who alleged that he (Muideen) had openly supported a particular political party which negates part of the constitutional provision for appointment as INEC Commissioner.
Spirited efforts made by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege to get the upper chamber of the National Assembly to clear and confirm Muideen failed to scale through.
Omo-Agege had argued that the petitioner did not show up at the Senate panel to defend his petition thus the nominee from Osun should not be disqualified on that premise.
However, the Minority Leader of the Senate, Enyinnaya Abaribe, said the Committee stood down the confirmation of the Muideen owing to the fact that he personally confirmed during his screening session that he was a card-carrying member of the APC.
Abaribe added that the Senate Committee on INEC only deferred Muideen’s confirmation pending when he would clear himself of the allegation.
Similarly, a member of the Senate Committee on INEC, Opeyemi Bamidele stressed that the Senate cannot be seen to be endorsing a violation of the Nigerian constitutional which clearly provides that an occupant of the office of the INEC Commissioner must be apolitical.
Following his argument, the Senate accordingly, approved the recommendations of its Committee on INEC and confirmed the nomination of the remaining two nominees namely; Dr. Aiaiibo Sinikiem Johnson (Bayelsa), and Mallam Umar Mukhtar Gajiram (Borno).