Pres­i­dency blocks ap­point­ment of fe­male INEC com­mis­sioner

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Ab­bas Ji­moh, Ruby Leo, Isi­aka Wak­ili & John Chuks Azu KEEP DO­NAT­ING TO THE

The Pres­i­dency was re­spon­si­ble for the non-is­suance of ap­point­ment let­ter the only fe­male Res­i­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sioner-des­ig­nate, Dr Asma’u Sani Maikudi, about three weeks af­ter her clear­ance by the Se­nate, Daily Trust find­ings have shown.

Dr Maikudi hails from Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari’s home state of Katsina, and was nom­i­nated by the pres­i­dent in March, along­side 26 oth­ers to fill the quota of 27 states.

The nom­i­nees sub­se­quently passed all stages for the ap­point­ment that in­cluded clear­ance by the Depart­ment of se­cret Ser­vice (DSS), the Code of Con­duct Bu­reau and, there­after, con­firmed by the Se­nate on July 20.

The Se­nate had di­vided the nom­i­nees into two batches and con­firmed the first 15 on June 1.

On July 20, eight of the

re­main­ing 12 nom­i­nees, in­clud­ing Dr Maikudi, were con­firmed, while four oth­ers were de­ferred.

Daily Trust gath­ered that while the re­main­ing nom­i­nees were given ap­point­ment let­ters by the Of­fice of the Sec­re­tary to the Govern­ment of the Fed­er­a­tion (OSGF), that of the lady was with­held.

A top govern­ment of­fi­cial told Daily Trust last night that the of­fice of the SGF has noth­ing to do with the is­sue, ex­plain­ing that it was the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the Pres­i­dency to for­ward names of cleared nom­i­nees for ap­point­ments.

The source said the ap­point­ment let­ters of the re­main­ing REC-des­ig­nates were given to them be­cause their names were for­warded to the OSGF by the Pres­i­dency.

It’s clear that some forces in­side the Pres­i­dency are hav­ing a sec­ond thought over the ap­point­ment of the lady, the top bu­reau­crat said.

The Pres­i­dency re­fused to com­ment on the story when con­tacted last night. The Se­nior Spe­cial As­sis­tant to the Pres­i­dent on Na­tional As­sem­bly Mat­ters (Se­nate), Sen­a­tor Ita Enang, said he could not com­ment on it be­cause he did not know about it.

The pres­i­den­tial aide told our cor­re­spon­dent on phone last night that he would find out. “I am not in a po­si­tion to com­ment on it be­cause I do not know. But I am go­ing to make find­ings,” he said.

In his re­sponse, the Direc­tor of Press in the OSGF, Mr Bo­laji Ade­biyi, said that he was yet to be briefed on the is­sue and that those an­nounced were the ones that were di­rected to be an­nounced af­ter their ap­point­ments.

Lawyers dif­fer

Lawyers how­ever ex­pressed di­ver­gent views over the non­is­suance of ap­point­ment let­ter to Dr Maikudi.

For­mer pres­i­dent of the In­ter­na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Hauwa Sheka­rau, said the de­vel­op­ment goes to show the na­ture of pol­i­tics and the role of some ca­bal who de­cide who gets what in the coun­try.

She there­fore ad­vised Dr Maikudi to play her card well, con­sid­er­ing that she may not have a le­gal lee­way since there is no doc­u­men­tary proof of her ap­point­ment or re­fusal.

Esther Uzoma of the Proac­tive Gen­der Ini­tia­tive (PGI) said it was an in­fringe­ment on her right to be de­nied a let­ter of ap­point­ment when she has not been “en­cum­bered by any crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion” through the var­i­ous screen­ings.

Uzoma ad­vised her to file for an or­der of man­damus to com­pel the pub­lic of­fi­cer, who is au­tho­rized to is­sue her with an ap­point­ment let­ter, to do so.

How­ever, Tawo Eja Tawo (SAN), while re­act­ing to Maikudi’s case, said she has no ac­tion­able claim since she has not been sworn into of­fice by the pres­i­dent, who has the pow­ers to ap­point sub­ject to the con­fir­ma­tion of the Na­tional As­sem­bly.

“Un­til she has taken her oath of of­fice, her ten­ure could not have com­menced. So, she can­not chal­lenge the ac­tion,” he said.

In the same vein, Abeny Mo­hammed (SAN) said de­spite scal­ing the DSS, CCB and the Se­nate hur­dles, Maikudi can­not claim to have been ap­pointed as she is still on “pre­lim­i­nary stage un­til she gets a let­ter of ap­point­ment or takes oath of of­fice.”

Civil so­ci­eties re­act

The Direc­tor of Cen­tre for Democ­racy and De­vel­op­ment (CDD) Idayat Hassan said non­is­suance of ap­point­ment let­ter to Dr Maikudi was un­for­tu­nate.

“This is a dis­ser­vice to the hon­our of Nige­rian women that a sin­gle woman among the nom­i­nees would be treated like this. How many women are in the cab­i­net as min­is­ters and other ap­pointees?” she said.

The pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Coun­cil of Women So­ci­eties (NCWS), Chief Glo­ria Laraba Shoda, said the sit­u­a­tion was sad­den­ing and un­ac­cept­able, adding that the coun­cil was al­ready tak­ing steps to see that no in­jus­tice is car­ried out against any woman.

“In this dis­pen­sa­tion when the coun­cil is fight­ing for more slots to be al­lo­cated to women, some per­sons are frus­trat­ing the good­will of Pres­i­dent Buhari’s govern­ment which aims to em­power women,” she said.

Dr David Oko­ror, direc­tor of the In­ter­na­tional In­sti­tute for Se­cu­rity and Gov­er­nance Stud­ies, said the de­vel­op­ment was rather un­for­tu­nate es­pe­cially in this time and age.

He con­demned the fail­ure to is­sue a let­ter of ap­point­ment to Dr Maikudi.

He called on all women groups to raise their voice and con­demn any ac­tion by groups or gov­ern­ments that choose to pre­vent women from con­tribut­ing their quota to na­tional de­vel­op­ment.

“In the case of Dr Asma’u Sani Maikudi, I think women groups and so­ci­eties should arise and see that she is given her right­ful po­si­tion, be­cause once this is al­lowed other women will fall prey to this in­jus­tice,” he said.

The Civil So­ci­ety Leg­isla­tive Ad­vo­cacy Cen­tre (CISLAC) said is­sue is not good for the na­tion’s gov­er­nance pro­cesses and that these kinds of is­sues were re­spon­si­ble for the on­go­ing mis­un­der­stand­ing be­tween one arm of govern­ment and an­other.

The Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor of CISLAC Auwal Musa Raf­san­jani told Daily Trust last night that it would amount to im­punity to refuse her (Dr Maikudi) let­ter of ap­point­ment af­ter the Se­nate had cleared her with no ob­jec­tion from the Pres­i­dency who nom­i­nated her in the first in­stance.

“How­ever, I want to be­lieve that it is an over­sight and it should ur­gently be ad­dressed to avoid cre­at­ing bad im­pres­sion. It is one govern­ment and its arms should be work­ing to­gether to en­sure good gov­er­nance and smooth pro­cesses in govern­ment, oth­er­wise if it is de­lib­er­ate it would be seen as an act of im­punity,” he said.

Res­i­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sioner des­ig­nate, Dr As­mau Sani Maikudi

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