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Senate overrules committee recommendation, confirms Electoral Commissioner

The nomination of Mr. Ahmed Bello Mahmud as Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) on Wednesday got the approval and confirmation of the Senate after three attempts with two previous rejections by the lawmakers.

Mr. Mahmud who is representing Zamfara state among the INEC RECs, was confirmed for the position by the Senate in plenary despite the nominees rejection by Senate committee on INEC chaired by Senator Suleiman Nazif.

Senator Nazif, while presenting the committee's report, recommended for the confirmation of three others nominees; Elder Monday Udo Tom from Akwa Ibom State; Attahiru Garba Madami, Niger State and Mr. Festus Okoye from Imo State.

Besides Mr. Mahmud who is making a third appearance on the screening panel, Elder Tom and Mr. Okoye were nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari for new appointments as REC, while Mr. Madami's appointment is a replacement for the Niger state candidate who left the position.

However, the confirmation of Mr. Mahmud, who was rejected by the committee, was done by the committee of the whole where senators unanimously shouted ayes when the senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki put it to them whether the Red Chamber should approve the confirmation of Mahmud as a Resident Electoral Commissioner in INEC.

Trouble started when Senator Nazif presented his report and recommended the rejection of Mahmud based on the petition by the Zamfara State governor that the nominee is not an indigene of the state.

It was the third time that Mahmud is being recommended for rejection by the senate, but Senator Kabiru Marafa rose to condemn the recommendation. Senator Marafa accused the committee chairman, Senator Nazif of compromising his position, noting that he had evidence to prove that there were underhand deals that led to the recommendation for rejection of Mahmud for a third consecutive time.

He claimed that Mahmud's grandparents actually hailed from Edo State against the Kebbi State being claimed by Governor Yari. According to him, Yari's Chief of Staff is from Ogbomoso in Oyo State while the state's Head of Service hails from Sokoto, saying the governor should first sack them if he's insisting on non-confirmation of Mahmud.

Supporting Senator Marafa's points, Senator James Manager said the committee did not receive any formal petition against the Zamfara State nominees let alone carry out any investigation on such action.

But the deputy senate president, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, citing standing rule of the Red Chamber, urged Saraki to ask Marafa to apologise to the committee chairman for using uncomplimentary remarks about him and also withdraw the statement.

However, Marafa refused to apologize about his facts that some underhand deals happened, not even after the senate president threatened to refer him to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, but withdrew the statement.

Meanwhile, after putting the question twice during the committee of the whole by the senate president, senators jettisoned the recommendation of the INEC committee and confirmed Mahmud alongside the three others as REC.

Voice of Nigeria recalls that Zamfara state nominee, Mr. Mahmud, had previously been rejected twice by the Senate following petitions that he was not an indigene of Zamfara State but Senator Marafa insisted during the third consideration that many of the top officials working with Governor Yari who is opposing the appointment are not full indigenes of the state.

After the confirmation of Mahmud after two previous rejections, Senator Marafa later apologized to Senator Nazif and others amidst laughter by his colleagues, thanking them for their massive support for him over the Zamfara State nominee.

Source: Voice of Nigeria