Senate backs down, screens electoral commissioner nominees

By Wahab Akanji, Abuja

Members of the upper legislative chambers, the Senate have commenced screening of 27 Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) nominees sent to it by President Muhammadu Buhari for confirmation.

Leader of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, presented the president’s request for approval of the nominees at plenary in Abuja.

After the motion, the senate directed its Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to screen the nominees and report back in two weeks.

The nominees are Prof. Godswill Obioma, Abia; Ibrahim Abdullahi, Adamawa; Alhaji Ahmad Makama, Bauchi; James Apam, Benue; Mr Mike Igini, Delta; Dr Nwachukwu Orji, Ebonyi; Dr Iloh Chuks, Enugu and Hussaini Pai, Federal Capital Territory.

Other are Sadiq Musa, Kaduna; Jibrin Zarewa, Kano; Mrs Asmau Maikudi, Katsina; Dr Mahmuda Isah, Kebbi; Prof. Samuel Egwu, Kogi; Dr Rufus Akeju, Lagos; Prof. Mustapha Zubairu, Niger; Agboke Olaleke, Ogun and Sam Olumekun, Ondo.

The list also contained names of AbdulGaniyu Raji, Oyo; Prof. Riskuwa Shehu, Sokoto; Mr Kasim Geidam, Yobe; Ahmad Mahmud, Zamfara; Dr Nentawe Yilwatda, Plateau and Umar Ibrahim, Taraba.

Mr Emeka Joseph, Imo; Obo Effanga, Cross River; Prof. Francis Ezeonu, Anambra and Dr. Briyai Frankland, Bayelsa, were also nominated.

The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, directed that Sen. Suleiman Nazif (APC-Bauchi) should head the committee in the absence of its chairman, Sen. Ali Ndume, currently ona six-week suspension.

“In the absence of the chairman, Sen. Ali Ndume, Sen. Nazif will head the committee and the report should be brought back to the Senate in two weeks,’’ Saraki said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Senate had, after the receipt of the list of nominees, threatened that it would treat it.

Its grouse was the Executive’s handling of the refusal of the chamber to confirm Mr Ibrahim Magu as chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In another development, the senate referred a list of three non-career ambassadorial nominees to its Committee on Foreign Affairs for scrutiny.

The nominees are Justice Sylvanus Nsofor, Imo; Joseph Iji, Ondo and Yusuf Hinna, Gombe.

The committee is to report back to the Senate in two weeks.

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