Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project , BudgIT and 34 concerned Nigerians have filed a lawsuit against President Bola Tinubu over the appointment of at least four members of the All Progressives Congress and allies of high-ranking politicians as new Resident Electoral Commissioners for the Independent National Electoral Commission.
SERAP made this known in a statement on its official X handle on Sunday.
According to the statement, the Plaintiffs are seeking: “an order setting aside the nomination, confirmation and appointment of the alleged APC members as RECs for INEC, for being unconstitutional, unlawful, null, void and of no effect.
Senate has confirmed the appointment of seven out of 10 newly appointed RECs for INEC.
The alleged APC members appointed as RECs include those from Akwa Ibom, Edo, Lagos and Rivers states.
The statement reads in part, ” The Plaintiffs are also seeking an order of mandamus to compel President Tinubu and Senate President Mr Godswill Akpabio to remove the alleged APC members as RECs for INEC, in line with Section 157 of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 as amended.
“The Plaintiffs are also seeking: an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Tinubu to appoint qualified Nigerians who are persons of unquestionable integrity and a non-member of a political party or loyalist to the positions of RECs for INEC, in line with Paragraph 14(3)(b)(c), Third Schedule and Section 156 of the Nigerian Constitution.
“In the suit, the Plaintiffs are arguing that: The status, powers, independence of INEC, and the impartiality with which it acts and is seen to be allowed to act, are fundamental to the integrity of Nigeria’s elections and effectiveness of citizens’ democratic rights.
“The Plaintiffs are also arguing that, INEC ought to be the primary guarantor of the integrity and purity of the electoral process. President Tinubu and the Senate have the constitutional responsibilities to ensure both the appearance and the actual independence and impartiality in the nomination and confirmation of INEC top officials.
“According to the Plaintiffs, The credibility and legitimacy of elections depend mostly on the independence and impartiality of those appointed to manage the process. Without an independent and impartial INEC, the democratic rights of Nigerians would remain illusory.
“The Plaintiffs are arguing that, anyone to be appointed as RECs for INEC must clearly be non-partisan, independent, impartial and neutral. INEC officials ought to be able to discharge their legal duties and implement the Electoral Act without fear or favour.
“The Plaintiffs are also arguing that, Nigeria’s electoral body must enjoy the independence from direction or control, whether from the government or any other quarter. It must be accountable to the electorate, and act accordingly.”