PRESS CONFERENCE HELD BY A COALITION OF CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS IN NIGERIA ON MONDAY, 30TH OCTOBER, 2023 IN UYO, AKWA IBOM STATE ON THE APPOINTMENT OF MR. ETEKAMBA UMOREN AS THE RESIDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSIONER OF THE INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC) BY PRESIDENT BOLA AHMED TINUBU.

Preamble
Arising from the congress of Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria on Saturday, 28th October, 2023 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, wherein, issues of state and national importance were reviewed including the appointment of Mr. Etekamba Umoren as the Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

WHEREAS, the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria wishes to commend Mr. President for ensuring the equitable distribution of appointments across the 36 States of the federation, we wish to make the following positions:

  1. That, Section 156(1)(a) and Third Schedule, Part 1, Item F, Paragraph 14(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) outrightly disqualifies any person in partisan politics and card carrying member of a political party from being appointed into INEC as an electoral umpire.
  2. That, Mr. Etekamba Umoren is a card carrying member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State who had also campaigned for the APC during the elections.
  3. That, the appointment of Mr. Etekamba Umoren will further undermine citizens’ confidence in INEC and increase mistrust in the commission.
  4. That, the appointment will also jeopardize the trust of other political parties in the commission.
  5. That, as civil society organizations that were part of the struggle for the return to democracy in Nigeria in 1999, we will not allow any undemocratic action that will truncate our hard-earned democracy which some of our colleagues unfortunately paid the supreme price with their lives.
  6. That, we will continue to ensure sustainability of Nigeria’s journey towards democratic consolidation by promoting and protecting the electoral integrity.
  7. That, we collectively demand that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the public interest should withdraw the appointment of Mr. Etekamba Umoren as a Resident Electoral Commissioner in INEC from Akwa Ibom State.
  8. That, Mr. Etekamba Umoren does not meet the constitutional requirements of being non-partisan as defined by Section 156(1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to be appointed as an INEC Commissioner.
  9. That, Mr. Etekamba Umoren is not only a card carrying member of the ruling All Progressives Congress but, an active politician who had held several political appointments including as the Secretary to the Government of Akwa Ibom State under the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), before he defected to the ruling APC in Akwa Ibom State on the 8th of August, 2018.
  10. That, his last political appointment was the Chief of Staff to Senator Godswill Akpabio when Senator Akpabio was the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Ministry.
  11. That, the appointment has already triggered outrage among Nigerians with many individuals and groups calling for the withdrawal of the appointment by President Tinubu because, Mr. Umoren had openly declared his membership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
  12. That, Etekamba Umoren had also campaigned for the ruling APC during the general elections in Akwa Ibom State.
  13. That, the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria is of the view that if the appointment of Etekamba Umoran is not withdrawn by Mr. President, it will mar future elections in the country and casts doubts on the independence of INEC.
  14. That, Mr. Etekamba Umoren, being a card carrying member of the APC, is not qualified for such appointment in-line with relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.
  15. That, the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria demands the immediate withdrawal of Mr. Etekamba Umoren’s appointment as a Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC from Akwa Ibom State by President Bola Tinubu as a matter of urgency.

Signed:
For and on behalf of Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria

  1. Center For Human Rights and Accountability Network (CHRAN)
    Otuekong Franklyn Isong
    (Director)
  2. People’s Rights to Life Development Foundation
    Comrade Ifot N. Ifot
    (Chief Executive Officer)
  3. Vital Partners for Development
    Comrade (Dr.) Victor David
    (Executive Director)
  4. Education Support Associates
    Comrade Ndaeyio Nathaniel
    (Coordinator)
  5. Civil Society Network for Development
    Comrade Gideon Usen
    (Executive Director)
  6. Youth & Girls Child Education Network
    Comrade Ime Udoh
    (Executive Director)

Dated: Monday, the 30th Day of October, 2023.

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