The Senate on Tuesday told a nominee for National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) From Osun state, Raheem Muideen to report back in two days after he was discovered to be a member and supporter of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Muideen whose name was sent to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari alongside two others, Dr Alalibo Johnson and Alhaji Aminu Guram for screening and confirmation in a letter dated October 28, 2019 during his screening by the Senate Committee on INEC admitted that he was a member of the APC on the platform he contested for Chairmanship position in 2013. He also said he served as the Director-General of the campaign of an unnamed APC governorship aspirant in 2017. He said he left the party in 2015 for further studies at the University of Ibadan before returning in 2017 to take up the DG position.
“I am a member of APC. I am a member of APC and I contested for local government chairmanship in 2013.
“In 2015, I left politics and moved on to the University of Ibadan to go and study psychology.
“I had the card then when I had the intention of contesting for election. On the question, if I was a DG of a contestant, Yes I was DG of a contestant in 2017.” Muideen said.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Senator Kabiru Gaya asked him what the term “DG” stand for and if he was part of the campaign, he responded thus: “Director-General, Yes, I was part of the campaign.”
The Senate told the nominee that it was in possession of a petition by one Oyebade Adebisi Abideen alleging that he was a card carrying member of the APC. Muideen struggled to absolve himself from the allegation. He,however, declared his allegiance to the APC despite efforts by the Committee to help him with a soft landing.
Member of the Senate screening panel Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti Central) pointed out that committee cannot be seen to be endorsing a violation of the Nigerian constitutional which clearly provides that occupant of the office of the INEC Commissioner must be apolitical.
Addressing newsmen after the screening, Gaya said, “They were asked questions and they answered to the best of their ability, there were no petitions for the two of the candidates Dr Alalibo Johnson and Alhaji Aminu Guram.
“There was a petition against Alhaji Olalekan from Osun state based on constitutional provision of the Act which said the President should nominate present Commissioners of INEC of people of integrity and good character and they should not be a card-carrying member of any political party.
“For Olalekan, there was a petition against him that he is a member of a political party, that he has run through campaigns and that he is a registered member of a political party.
“We asked him questions he defended himself to the best he could but there is still more to ask from him.
“We have given him two days to come back to us for more discussions.”