The William Richard Tolbert Joint Chambers of the Capitol Building came under serious tension Monday when the chairman-designate of the National Elections Commission appeared before the Senate Hearings Committee for confirmation.
The Nigerian born naturalized Liberian, Cllr. Ndubuisi Nwabudike told the committee that he is a naturalized Liberian and he had held the Liberian citizenship since 1982 though he was born in 1968, which means he was 17 years old when obtained his Liberian citizenship.
But Grand Cape Mount County Senator, Cllr. Varney Sherman strongly countered the NEC chairman-designate that the Liberian alien and naturalization law says one shall be at minimum age of 21 before applying for such citizenship status.
Senator Sherman narrated that the Nigerian constitution says any natural born citizen retains its citizenship for life whether that person takes another country’s citizenship.
The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria article (28) section one (1) states: “Subject to the other provisions of this section, a person shall forfeit forthwith his Nigerian citizenship if, not being a citizen of Nigeria by birth, he acquires or retains the citizenship or nationality of a country, other than Nigeria, of which he is not a citizen by birth”.
When quizzed to displace his naturalization certificate obtained from the Liberian government, Nwabudike in at broken spirit said, he forgot to attach the certificate to documents submitted to the committee prior to his appearance and that he does not have a copy instead, he will make the certificate available the next day.
Bong County Senator Henry Yallah could not hold his words saying, he’s disappointed in the action of Cllr. Nwabudike by not displacing his certificate of naturalization prior to or during the confirmation hearing.
When quizzed as to whether he had siblings here, Cllr. Nwabudike said no but he claims to have a cousin and other relatives here. Cllr. Sherman further questioned the nominee about his vested interest in Liberia, Nwabudike narrated that he has real estate properties here and his allegiance has since been to Liberia rather than Nigeria.
Responding to criticism from the public relating to his controversial nomination, Nwabudike termed the concerns as ‘unnecessary.’
Due to the tension-charged hearing and countless questions from senators, the chairman of the committee, Sinoe County Senator Milton Teahjay, ruled that the hearing continues today, March 31, at 2pm local time following conclusion of the senate’s regular session.
On March 21, President George Manneh Weah nominated new slate of officials to the National Elections Commission, including Cllr. A. Ndubusi Nwabudike, Chairman, Madam Davidetta Browne Lansanah, who previously served as Commissioner, Co-Chairman, Cllr. Ernestine Morgan-Awar, Commissioner, Mr. Floyd Sayor, Commissioner, Barsee Kpankpa Commissioner, and Madam Josephine Kou Gaye, Commissioner, respectively. By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne