Falana Voices Concerns Over INEC’s Commissioner Appointments
Human Rights Lawyer Warns Against Political Party Affiliation of INEC Officials
Human rights lawyer Femi Falana, SAN, has issued a cautionary statement regarding the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) ability to conduct impartial elections when appointing Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) who are active members of political parties.
During an interview on Channels TV, Falana expressed his concerns, highlighting the recurrent issue of ruling parties attempting to populate the electoral body with individuals closely aligned with their own political interests. He noted that this practice had resulted in constitutional amendments over the years.
Falana cited various Nigerian administrations, including those of Presidents Yar’Adua, Jonathan, and Buhari, which had all established electoral reform committees or panels to propose recommendations aimed at improving the credibility of elections in the country.
President Tinubu, in his capacity as a leader of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), established a committee for electoral reforms to advocate for the implementation of the Uwais Panel’s recommendations. One key recommendation was the necessity of having independent referees for every essential aspect of the electoral process.
In line with this, Falana emphasized the impracticality of appointing card-carrying members of political parties or party loyalists as Resident Electoral Commissioners or national commissioners within INEC. Such appointments, he argued, would only exacerbate the challenges faced by INEC in its quest to conduct credible elections.
It is worth noting that the Senate had confirmed the first seven out of the ten RECs appointed by President Tinubu on Wednesday, with the remaining three being confirmed on Thursday.