Bribery, immoral acts: Rights group writes Senate, demands rejection of Akeju’s nomination as REC

Posted by News Express | 19 April 2017 | 2,095 times

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•Controversial REC nominee Ambassador Rufus Akeju.

The Senate has been urged to reject the confirmation of Ambassador Rufus Akeju, one of the 27 nominees for the posts of Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), sent to it by President Muhammadu Buhari for confirmation.

The group maintaining that Akeju lacks requisite integrity, temperament and civility to serve again in the electoral umpire, adding that the call became imperative to save the Independent National Electoral Commissioner (INEC) from impeding embarrassment and odium.

The group, the Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ) has written the Senate through its President, Senator Bukola Saraki on the subject matter, where it alleged several wrong doings by Ambassador Akeju while serving as REC in Osun and Oyo states between 2010 and 2015.

The petition dated Monday 10th April, 2017, which was signed by CHRSJ's Executive Chairman, Comrade Adeniyi Alimi Sulaiman, maintained that anybody that would serve as REC in a sensitive agency like INEC should live above board, and should not be a controversial personality or man of questionable character. The Centre alleged that Ambassador Akeju was still under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for N802 million electoral bribery scandal.

It urged the Senate to demand from the EFCC, details of its investigation on the bribery allegation during the 2015 general elections in Oyo State under Akeju’s watch.

The petition reads: “CHRSJ wants to reliably informed the distinguish Senators through your respected office that Ambassador Akeju is still under investigation by the EFCC for allegedly received the sum of N802 million out of N23 billion bribe disbursed to electoral officials by the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deziani Alison Madueke during the 2015 general elections as Oyo State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC).”

CHRSJ also stated that Ambassador Akeju had returned the sum of over N100 million to the anti-graft agency
According to it, “It was widely reported that Ambassador Rufus Akeju, as Osun State REC, prior to 2011 general elections, had an encounter with a Leadership Newspaper Reporter where he turned himself to Mike Tyson by punching the said Reporter till he landed in hospital for trying to get Akeju’s side of the story on N25 million bribery allegation levelled against him by the Osun State Chapter of the Conference of Nigeria Political Party (CNPP). This singular action brought disrepute to the electoral Commission at that material time.

“It is also on record that many court cases were instituted against Ambassador Akeju as REC at the Federal High Court by stakeholders over alleged political affiliation and former aide to Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu where he was barred from presiding over any election in Nigeria.”

The petition further reads: “We are demoralised and flabbergasted to hear that Akeju’s name   could still be forwarded for re-appointment as REC, even with the Change mantra of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“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 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria knows that Ambassador Akeju is not a fit and proper person to be re-considered for such a privilege position.”

“In view of the above analysis, CHRSJ believes that reconfirmation of Ambassador Akeju as REC would not augur well for the electoral Commission as the country is preparing to have free, fair, credible and generally acceptable elections in 2019. And it is time for the Senate to save the Commission from the crisis that may follow the re-confirmation of Akeju as REC for another period of five years.”


Source: News Express

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