INEC Needs Restructuring – CERC

By Ikenga Chronicles August 10, 2017

INEC Needs Restructuring – CERC

The Constitution and  Electoral Reform Committee (CERC) set up by the Federal Government has called for a massive overhaul of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The committee, chaired by the former Senate President, Ken Nnamani argued that INEC ought to be restructured in such a manner that it would be truly independent.

One of the major recommendations put forward by the committee looks at the process of appointing the chairman and commissioners of the agency.

According to the report, “the Committee believes that the current method of appointing the leadership of INEC is not sufficiently embedded with the ideals and values depicting independence.

“The appointment of INEC leadership is not sufficiently removed from the hands of those who can influence the decisions of the agency.

“In addition, the process of appointing INEC leadership has not been adequately framed and institutionalised in such a way that those appointed do not feel a sense of gratitude to the appointing authority.

“While the Committee recommends that the President retains the power to appoint INEC Chairman and Commissioners because of the need to maintain a sense of coherence in the appointment process, it proposes a more inclusive Commission.

“A major step towards making INEC leadership more responsive and independent is to subject the mode of appointment of the Chairman and Commissioners to a more rigorous screening.

“The Committee therefore recommends that the position of INEC Chairman, National Commissioners, and the Resident Electoral Commissioners should be advertised and applications be evaluated by a Screening Committee appointed by the President to serve on an ad-hoc basis.

“The Screening Committee shall recommend three nominees for each position to the National Council of State.

“The National Council of State shall then recommend to the President two nominees for each office and the President shall forward one name for each position to the Senate for confirmation.

“The Screening Committee shall comprise:  a retired Supreme Court Justice as Chairman who shall be nominated by the National Judicial Council; the  Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission; the  President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA); the  Director General, Department of State Services (DSS); two nominees of Civil Society Organisations;  two women representatives; a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission; one representative of the Nigerian Youth Council; and the  Secretary of the Independent National Electoral Commission to serve as Secretary to the Committee.

“The Screening Committee shall  advertise the vacant position of the Chairman, National Commissioners and Resident Electoral Commissioners; receive applications and screen the applicants; and in making nominations reflect Federal Character and the National Gender Policy.”