The Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday, November 5, discovered that one of President Muhammadu Buhari nominees for the position of INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) is a card-carry member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Olalekan Raheem was nominated as REC nominee from Osun state; however, his affiliation to the ruling All Progressive Progress (APC) was revealed during the screening.
The Vice-Chairman of the committee, Sen Sahabi Ya’u asked the nominee if he had ever been a card-carrying member.
“Have you ever come across a membership card by number OSN/OSO/06/000/9614 if yes, when did you acquire it? And are you still a card-carrying member or in possession of that card?” he asked.
Raheem affirmed that he is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
His response of being an APC member however contravenes section 14 (3b) of third schedule of the 1999 constitution which states: “There shall be for each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja, a Resident Electoral Commissioner who shall be a person of unquestionable integrity and shall not be a member of any political party.”
Asked if he still in possession with his APC membership card, the nominee negated.
The panel then disclosed that there was a petition against the nominee showing pictures of him supporting a political party.
Raheem responded that it was in 2013.
The intervention of the Special Adviser to Buhari on National Assembly matters (Senate), Babajide Omoworare changed the response of the nominee.
“I don’t have any sympathy for any political party again. When I contested in 2013, it was not even a contest.”
The discrepancy in the response of the nominee was pointed at by Senator Bamidele.
“You came to me as a sincere man and admitted that you were a member of a party. Later, you said you campaigned as recently as 2017. I cannot reconcile with your earlier position that since 2013 that you are outside the party. It has political undertone.
“We cannot be seen endorsing the violation of the constitution and be confirming a nomination that will cause tension that will make the interest of other 91 political parties in jeopardy.”
Another question was raised on his affiliation to another political movement in his state, although he said the group is not a partisan group, but conceded to political involvement.