Opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) has filed a written complaint before the Senate Standing Committee on Autonomous Agencies and Commissions, requesting it to not confirm two controversial presidential nominees, Cllr. A. Ndubusi Nwabudike and Mr. Floyd Sayor for prestigious jobs at the National Elections Commission (NEC).
In the complaint dated 27 March addressed to the Senate Committee’s Chair J. Milton Teahjay, ANC argues that Liberia’s Constitution prohibits Cllr. Nwabudike from being a commissioner of NEC because he has not renounced his Nigerian citizenship, while it also accuses Mr. Sayor of compromising the integrity of a district election.
The two embattled officials are among several others nominated at the NEC by President George Manneh Weah on 21 March, but Nwabudike and Sayor have seen massive resistance and calls for their rejections either for their past records or eligibility.
According to the ANC, confirming Cllr. Nwabudike as NEC Chairman is in violation of Elections Law of Liberia, amended 2003 and 2004 and published 2011, which requires for “the commissioners of NEC to be Liberian citizens only, and not be less than 35 years of age.
“ANC submits that in the meaning of the Elections Law of Liberia, Cllr. Nwabudike is not eligible to serve as a commissioner and/or chairman of NEC…,” the party claims.
It insists that Cllr. Nwabudike has not renounced his Nigerian citizenship by making a declaration in keeping with the prescribed manner for the renunciation of his citizenship under the Nigerian law (Section 29 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria).
“Cllr. Nwabudike has failed to provide any evidence whatsoever that the President of Nigeria did or has caused the declaration made by Cllr. Nwabudike, assuming without admitting he did, to be registered and upon such registration, Cllr. Nwabudike’s citizenship has ceased to exist (Section 29 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria),” ANC continues.
In consequence of Cllr. Nwabudike’s alleged failure to provide any evidence to the contrary that he renounced his Nigerian citizenship, ANC notes that he remains a Nigerian citizen and he is therefore prohibited from being a commissioner of NEC.
Additionally, the ANC recalls that a local daily here, FrontPageAfrica newspaper carried a story in its October 24, 2019 publication, in which it narrated firsthand accounts of Cllr. Nwabudike’s actions in a case regarding a Nigerian vessel, M/V Pots Express.
In that publication, ANC says Cllr. Nwabudike was accused of engaging in fraud, conflict of interest, and acting in bad faith.
Further, ANC says while Nwabudike was serving as the Executive Director of the Good Governance Commission, he served as President Weah’s Legal Advisor, in the illegal and ill-fated Jordanian Airport Handling Contract with the Liberia Airport, as the party cites conflict of interest.
Furthermore, the opposition party explains that the Dual Citizenship Proposition recently passed by the Legislature and signed by President Weah, for a referendum, allows that a Liberian born to both or one parent with citizenship of another country will be given dual citizenship but will not be appointed to certain government positions.
“The reasoning is that, being a citizen of two countries, such person will also have dual allegiances. This reasoning is not irrelevant. Cllr. Nwabudike is a Nigerian citizen who has naturalized as a Liberian, hence, he holds dual citizenship and dual allegiances, as the Nigerian law does not revoke the Nigerian citizenship of any of their citizens who acquires another nationality,” ANC details.
Regarding Mr. Floyd Sayor, ANC asks the Senate to reject him for the position of NEC Commissioner because he has allegedly shown lack of integrity, good character and judgment during his time at the NEC.
ANC recalls that Cllr. Mauana S. Ville, Dispute Hearing Officer in the case between opposition All Libeian Party (ALP’s) representative candidate Telia Urey and the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), stated … that the chief reason for calling a rerun of election in all quarantined polling places is because the Director of NEC Data Center, Floyd Sayor compromised the integrity of the District #15 polls by failing to obey instructions from his immediate boss.
Quoting another local daily’s publication, ANC furthers that Cllr. Ville accused Sayor of failing to quarantine ballots from the polling places where irregularities were said to have occurred and withhold the inclusion of votes from those areas from the final tally, until all such complaints had been addressed.
That ANC therefore says that these grave allegations against Mr. Sayor were never refuted at any time, adding that the ruling of the Dispute Hearing Officer was affirmed and the rerun or the election was ordered and held.
Based on reasons cited by ANC, it says Cllr. Nwabudike and Mr. Sayor are unfit to hold the positions as Chairman and Commissioner of the NEC respectively.By Winston W. Parley