Again, Senate fails to approve Bello Mahmud as INEC commissioner

Chambers of the Nigerian Senate used to illustrate the story.
Chambers of the Nigerian Senate used to illustrate the story.

The Nigerian Senate has again failed to confirm a Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, nominee, Bello Mahmud, from Zamfara State.

The Senate first rejected Mr. Mahmud’s nomination last Thursday for allegedly not being an indigene of the state.

On Tuesday, the lawmakers agreed to revisit the rejection after Kabir Marafa, Zamfara-APC, raised a point of order and sought the leave of the Senate to revisit the controversial rejection.

Presenting the motion on Wednesday, Mr. Marafa asked the Senate to “rescind its earlier decision and approve the confirmation of the nomination of Ahmad Bello Mahmud, to represent Zamfara State as Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).”

Mr. Marafa said that even though the committee had claimed that its recommendation was based on ‘careful deliberations and consultations,’ at no time was he consulted on the confirmation of the nominee despite being a Senator from the state.

He said that the report of the committee had in itself confirmed that the nominee is from Zamfara state.

“The Senate is aware that item 4.1.2 on page 6 of the Screening Committee’s Report has confirmed that the nominee was born in Gusau, Gusau Local Government Area of Zamfara State;

“The Senate is aware that the report has confirmed that the nominee had both his primary and secondary education in Gusau and Anka Local Government Areas of Zamfara State respectively;

“The Senate is aware that the nominee was a one-time Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice of Zamfara State and the Chairman, Zamfara State Anti-Corruption Commission, amongst others;

“The Senate is aware also that the methodology adopted by the Committee as contained in item 3.0 on page 3 of the report made no reference whatsoever to indigeneship as a basis for consideration and for clearing any nominee;

“The Senate is further aware that the assertion by the senator representing Zamfara North Senatorial District that the nominee is from Kebbi State and not from Zamfara State is therefore false.”

He prayed that the Senate rescind its earlier decision of rejection and approve the confirmation of the nomination of Ahmad Bello Mahmud.

The Senate rejected the two prayers.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said the Senate can only refer the matter back to the committee to reconsider.

“The issue really at hand is the work of the committee and I believe that any decision we take here, we must allow the committee to be able to defend itself,” he said “I think in going forward, what should be the prayer based on what you said. I’m sure a lot of people have listened to you and have some points raised for us to refer it back to the committee to take care of the points that you raised because any decision we raised here will be indicting the committee and that will not be fair on the committee.”

The Senate agreed to refer the issue back to its committee on INEC and report back in one week.

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