INEC: Don’t re-confirm Rufus Akeju as REC, Rights group tells Senate
Posted by News Express | 31 March 2017 | 6,558 times
•Ambassador (Dr.) Rufus Akeju.
With the two weeks suspension of screening of nominees for the post of Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), a human rights group in Nigeria, the Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ) has urged the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly under the leadership of Dr. Bukola Saraki not to re-confirm the nomination of the immediate past Oyo State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Ambassador (Dr.) Rufus Oloruntoyin Akeju, over bribery allegation scandal during the 2015 general elections.
The group, however, disclosed that Dr. Akeju as a former Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) was still under investigation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly receiving N802 million out of N23 billion bribe disbursed to electoral officials by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, during the 2015 general elections, adding that Akeju had returned over N100 million to the anti-graft agency.
CHRSJ also alleged that Akeju committed many electoral offences and immoral acts, while serving as Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in both Osun and Oyo states respectively, urging the leadership of the Senate to request from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) detailed report of their investigation of the bribery allegation rocking the general elections in Oyo State under Akeju’s watch.
According to a statement signed by CHRSJ’s Executive Chairman, Comrade Adeniyi Alimi Sulaiman, and issued on Wednesday, “The Senate should not confirm a man of questionable character like into the Commission as headship of its state office because of the sensitive nature of the agency to peaceful co-existence and development of the nation’s democracy.”
Comrade Sulaiman advised the Senate to reject Akeju’s nomination by requesting for another credible person to represent Lagos State at the Commission, noting that the right group “would soon forward a letter to the Senate leadership, detailing the many atrocities committed by Akeju while earlier serving in the Commission and as well raise some fundamental issues that make Akeju unfit for the position of authority in the land again.”
Akeju, according to the group, lacks the requisite integrity, temperament and civility to serve again in the Commission, “his rejection would save the Commission from impeding embarrassment and odium.”
CHRSJ said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is a sensitive agency of the Federal Government which should not be allowed to be characterized by “people of questionable character like Ambassador Rufus Akeju.
The role of the Commission is very important to the peaceful co-existence of the nation and deepening of our democracy.Anybody that would serve in the electoral umpire should live above board, not controversial personality like Ambassador Akeju.”
“How come a person like Akeju who is still under investigation of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for N802 million electoral bribery scandal, would still be forwarded for re-appointment under the Change mantra, President Muhammadu Buhari and as well request the Senate to confirm such person. If Akeju is re-confirmed, it would not augur well for the commission as the country is preparing to have free, fair, credible and generally acceptable elections in 2019.”
It added: “It is incumbent on us as an organisation that is committed to the promotion of peace, good governance, sanctity of truth, credible elections and democratic ethos to let the Senate know that Ambassador Rufus Akeju is not fit and proper person to be reconsidered for such a privilege appointment.”