By Toby Prince
A Resident Electoral Commissioner nominee of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed that he was a member of the All Progressives Congress.
Olalekan Raheem (Osun) is one of the three nominees appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari into the electoral umpire.
The president wrote to the Senate on October 29 seeking his confirmation and that of the two others.
Mr Raheem appeared before the Senate Committee on INEC when he disclosed that he was an APC member and had contested for local government chairmanship in Osogbo, Osun State.
The Vice-Chairman of the committee, Bamidele Opeyemi, sought to know if the nominee is a card-carrying member of any political party.
He referred to a petition written against the nominee which alleged that he was once a director-general of a 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,” he asked.
Mr Raheem responded in the positive.
“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,” he explained.
A member of the committee, Kassim Shettima, also referred the nominee to Section 14(3b) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution which states that “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.”
Mr Raheem, thereafter, said he “used to have a card” and that it was no longer in his possession.
When asked to justify the part of the petition that shows him with pictures of a party, he noted that it was taken in 2013.
“The next page you were addressing a rally. The other page that is you with APC logo. Which party are you supporting?” Kabiru Gaya, the committee chairman, asked.