Senate Overrules Committee, Clears Rejected REC Nominee

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* Three others cleared

By Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The Senate Wednesday overruled its Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and cleared a Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) nominee from Zamfara State, Ahmed Bello Mahmud.

The INEC committee had earlier in its report presented to the Senate by the Chairman, Senator Suleiman Nasif (Bauchi North), cleared three other REC nominees but rejected Mahmud based on a petition from Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari alleging that the nominee is not from Zamfara State but neighbouring Kebbi State.

Rising to contribute under Point of Order, Senator Kabiru Marafa (Zamfara Central) accused the committee of compromising its report by dancing to the tune of Governor Yari to reject the Zamfara nominee.
According to him, the nominee had in the past hold public office in Zamfara State including being a former commissioner under former Governor Ahmed Sani Yerima.

Marafa therefore wondered why someone who had served Zamfara diligently in the past will now be called an alien because of politics.
He particularly mentioned the current Chief of Staff and Head of Service in Zamfara State who are natives of Ogbomosho in Oyo State and Sokoto State respectively “and wondered why these appointees had not been sent packing by Governor Yari.

At this point, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, interjected and advised that the Committee of the Whole consider the nominees one after the other.
The names were then read out by the Senate President and when he got to the name of the rejected nominee, Mahmud, the senators unanimously approved his nomination.

Saraki then banged the gavel, saying the ayes have it.
The other cleared REC nominees are Festus Okoye (Imo), Monday Udo Tom (Akwa Ibom) and Attahiru Garba Madami (Niger).