The Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has been condemned by the Initiative for Grassroot Advancement for nominating himself as a member of the State Independent Electoral Commission.
Governor Bello in a statement released through his spokesperson on Wednesday had released eight names to the State House of Assembly, for Screening and Clearance.
The report gathered revealed that the screening and clearance will take place at the hallowed chamber on Thursday.
The names of the nominees submitted to the House include: Lawal Shiru, Chairman Lokoja/Koto Federal Constituency
Ozovehe John Enesi, Secretary Adavi/Okehi Federal Constituency, Adaji Ainoko, Member Dekina/Bassa Federal Constituency.
Others are Musa Adama (Babakeke), Member Idah Federal Constituency, Hon. Funsho Olorunfemi, Member Kabba/Bunu Federal Constituency, Chogudo Yakubu Musa, Member Okene/Ogori Magongo Federal Constituency, Hon. Labaran Yahaya Oyigebe, Member Ankpa Federal Constituency and Abdulkarim Jamiu, Member Ajaokuta Federal Constituency.
The Governor’s recommendation is based on section 197, sub-section 1(b) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
The group while reacting to the composition of SIEC, in a statement through its Executive Director, Hamza Aliyu, accused the Kogi State Government of planning to appoint card-carrying members of a political party that will have their personal interest during elections.
Aliyu noted that this will not provide a level playing field needed for a free, fair and credible election.
The governor was condemned for excluding women from the SIEC nominees.
The statement reads in part, “The announcement on the 12th February 2020 by the Kogi State Government, through the Spokesperson of the Executive Governor Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello, of the composition and forwarding of the members of the Kogi State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) is a welcome development and will set in motion activities towards the long-overdue elections into our local government councils, which had been governed by unelected officials since 2016.”
“It is strange that the Kogi State Government wants to appoint card-carrying members of a political party that will have vested interest in the outcome of the elections, as members of the Commission and most importantly as the Chairperson of the commission. This will certainly be providing undue advantage to the political party and will certainly not provided the needed perception of fairness and level playing field needed for a credible election.”
“In as much as we are clamouring for elections into the local government councils, there is a need for every political party to have a sense of fairness going into the elections.”
“We are also dismayed that the membership of the Commission is devoid of members of the Civil Society who have over time shown their capacity and resourcefulness in engaging the electoral process both at State and National levels. There is a need for the State Government to look into this issue.”
“There is also a glaring absence of women from the commission. This again speaks to the deliberate policy of the State Government in excluding women from the governance structure in the state. We recommend the inclusion of at least 1 woman in accordance with the NEW DIRECTION POLICY on Gender inclusion”.