OrderPaperToday- Mr Olalekan Raheem, nominee for Osun State Resident Electoral Commissioner position, on Tuesday declared to the Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that he is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Raheem, who was one of the 3 nominees screened by the Senate committee, also admitted to having affiliations with the party, having contested on its platform in 2013 and served as a director general for a contestant in
This contravenes section 14 (3b) of third schedule of the 1999 constitution which states: “There shall be for each state of the federation and the federal Capital Territory of Abuja, a Resident Electoral Commissioner who shall be a person of unquestionable integrity and shall not be a member of any political party.”
Armed with a petition against the confirmation of Raheem, a member of the committee, Senator Bamidele Opeyemi started by asking if he is currently a member of any political party and if he contested any election for chairman of Osogbo local government and when he (nominee) last contested for any election.
But the vice chairman of the committee, Senator Sahabi Ya’u, chose to be more direct by asking him plainly, “Have you ever come across a membership card by number OSN/OSO/06/000/9614? If yes, when did you acquire it? And are you still a card carrying member or in possession of that card?
“It was alleged that you were once a DG Campaign for a particular politician. Is it true? Do you have sympathy for any political party? Do you attend campaign rallies? If yes, when last?”
Responding, the nominee affirmed that he is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying, “I am a member of APC and I contested for the chairmanship of Osogbo local government in 2013. In 2015, I moved on to go and study Psychology in University of Ibadan. I had the card then when I had the intention of contesting. I was a DG of a contestant in 2017. I was part of the campaign. I am no longer a card carrying member since I left to go back to school. I have not been attending political function again.”
Asked if he is still in possession of his APC membership card, the nominee negated.
The panel then disclosed that there was a petition showing pictures of him supporting a political party.
Raheem responded that it was in 2013.
Asked what political party he is supporting, he replied, “APC.”
At this point, the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly matters (Senate), Babajide Omoworare whispered to the nominee.
Immediately, Raheem retracted his words and said, “I was supporting APC in 2013. Sir. I do not have any sympathy for any political party again. When I contested in 2013, it was not even a contest and there was no any, the governor did not give any authority… what i have sympathy for is to continue with my intellectual attachment.”
Senator Bamidele proceeded by noting that there were many discrepancies in the nominee’s submission.
“You came to me as a sincere man and you admitted that you were a member of a party and later you went to school and a colleague asked you and you said you campaigned as recently as 2017. I cannot reconcile with your earlier position that since 2013 that you are outside the party. It has political undertone.
“We cannot be seen endorsing the violation of the constitution and be confirming a nomination that will cause tension that will put the interest of other 91 political party in jeopardy. if you were sitting here, would you go ahead to recommend such person for confirmation?”
He was then asked if he is a member of a group called ‘Tiwa n Tiwa’.
Raheem said in his response that he was but explained that the group is not a political party but a social organisational group whose founder is a politician and as such, the group only supported its founder during the Osun gubernatorial election.
“It is an organisation for better society for people in the rural party founded by Kunle Rasheed Adegoke. It is a movement. The founder is a lawyer and contested in 2017 for governorship in Osun State but Tiwa n Tiwa is not a political party. Tiwa n Tiwa gave support to the founder because he is a philanthropist, Tiwa n Tiwa was not partisan. It is general.”
Chairman of the committee, Sen. Kabiru Gaya, then assured the nominee that committee would consider details of the petition as well as his submission and make appropriate recommendations.
“You are a man of integrity, not less than 30 years but you are a member of a political party.
“We will look at what you have just said and what we have and if there is any more information, especially the petition, we will seek for details.. If there is none, you can consider yourself successful. If there is any problem, we will also let you know,” he said.