The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has initiated a lawsuit over its disapproval of the selection of Etekamba Umoren as a Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC). On Wednesday, the Senate ratified the appointments of seven out of the ten RECs submitted by President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday.
The lawsuit is against the confirmed RECs which include Umoren (Akwa Ibom), Isah Ehimeakne (Edo), Oluwatoyin Babalola (Ekiti), Abubakar Ma’aji (Gombe), Shehu Wahab (Kwara), Aminu Idris (Nasarawa), and Mohammed Sadiq (Niger).
The appointments seen as APC’s plot for continued dominance
During a press conference held in Abuja on Thursday, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, characterized the appointments as a scheme by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to ensure its continued dominance in power through purportedly influencing the activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He stated, “Of particular concern is the brazen imposition of a card-carrying member and prominent leader of the APC in Akwa Ibom State, Etekamba Umoren, as the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State despite the loud and widespread outcry and rejection by Nigerians, and particularly our party, the PDP and the people of Akwa Ibom State.”
Ologunagba pointed out that Umoren is a well-known figure within the APC, actively participating in APC campaigns and promoting the party’s interests in previous elections. He went on to emphasize the PDP’s rejection of Etekamba Umoren’s appointment as INEC REC for Akwa Ibom State.
This rejection is based on the belief that the appointment violates the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act, 2022, and the universal principle of impartiality and non-partisanship expected from electoral bodies and their officials.
To provide further clarity, Ologunagba referred to Section 141 of the Electoral Act, 2022, which explicitly states that individuals holding elective offices to which the Act applies or registered members of a political party are ineligible for appointment to roles such as returning officers, electoral officers, presiding officers, or poll clerks.
Ologunagba strongly criticized Umoren’s appointment as a severe blow to INEC’s credibility as a fundamental democratic institution and a violation of the integrity and sanctity of the electoral process.
He stressed that this appointment is a blatant affront to the independence, integrity, and credibility of the electoral system. Ologunagba firmly asserted that this appointment would not be tolerated, emphasizing that it has sparked significant discontent and unrest in Akwa Ibom State.
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