Monrovia – The opposition Alternatives National Congress (ANC) has joined an array of Liberians and civil society organizations to reject the nomination of Cllr. Ndubusi Nwabudike as Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC).
Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh, [email protected]
The ANC also called on the Senate to scrap the nomination of Floyd Sayor as a Commissioner of the NEC.
In a communication to the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Autonomous Agencies and Commissions, Senator J. Milton Teahjay, the ANC said that the nomination of Cllr. Nwabudike as Chairman of NEC is in violation of the Constitution and Elections Law of Liberia.
The Election law, amended in 2003 and 2004 and published in 2011, requires for the commissioners of NEC to be Liberian citizens only and not be less than 35 years of age.
The ANC, in the letter noted that the Elections Law of Liberia barred Cllr. Nwabudike to serve as a chairman of NEC owing to his dual nationality.
“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 for reason that Cllr. Nwabudike is a citizen of Nigeria by birth pursuant to Section 25 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, which makes “every person born in Nigeria before or after the date of independence and every person born outside Nigeria either of whose parents is a citizen of Nigeria” a “citizen by birth”; 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,” the ANC said in the letter addressed to Senator Teahjay on Monday, March 30.
Citing section 29 of the Nigerian Constitution and in several counts outlined in the communication, the ANC said in order for Cllr. Nwabudike’s Nigerian Citizenship to have ended, he was required to “make a declaration in the prescribed manner for the renunciation.
The party furthered that there is no record that the President of Nigeria at any time did cause Cllr. Nwabudike’s declaration to be registered, as prescribed in section 29 (2) of the Nigerian Constitution, and without such registration, Cllr. Nwabudike’s remains a Nigerian citizen.
“… ANC also says that other than a person who obtain a Nigerian citizenship by the grant of a certificate of naturalization, no Nigerian, who is a citizen by birth, can forfeit his/her Nigerian citizenship (Section 28(1) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria),” the ANC said.
On the national level, the ANC, citing the Constitution and the Elections Law of Liberia said “Cllr. Nwabudike is prohibited from being a commissioner of NEC because our laws clearly prohibit a person with a different nationality, as Cllr. Nwabudike, from occupying such position (Section 2.3 of the Elections Law of Liberia). Hence, both the 1986 Constitution of Liberia and Aliens and Nationality Law prohibit a Liberian citizen from maintaining two citizenships at the same time.”
In addition to its claims, the ANC noted 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, the party noted, is that, being a citizen of two countries, such person will also have dual allegiances, adding “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.”
Meanwhile, in addition the NEC’s Chairman Citizenship conundrum, the ANC, in one of its counts, also called for his nomination to be rejected over his alleged involvement in fraudulent acts.
The party, cited FrontPage Africa Newspaper’s 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.
“Cllr. Nwabudike was accused of engaging in fraud, conflict of interest, and acting in bad faith,” the party said.
Recently, while serving as the Executive Director of the Good Governance Commission, the party furthered that Cllr. Nwabudike, served as President Weah’s Legal Advisor, in the illegal and ill-fated Jordanian Airport Handling Contract with the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA)—a clear conflict of interest.
The party alleged that the embattled NEC Chairman designate prepared the Agreement and argued for the President to use his power to force the Manager of the LAA to sign—regardless of the fact that the management’s reluctance to sign was based on the lack of due diligence in the procurement process.
The LAA Manager was called to Minister Nathaniel McGill’s office and made to sign the Agreement, under duress, the party claimed.
On Floyd Sayor’s Rejection
Also in its letter of complaint signed by the party’s National Chairman Daniel F. Naatehn and Aloysius Toe, National Secretary General, the ANC said Floyd Sayor’s nomination should be rejected because he has shown lack of integrity, good character and judgment during his time as Director of the NEC Data center.
Citing the Daily Observer’s August 15, 2019 Edition, and quoting the NEC Hearing officer in the case between ALP’s Telia Urey and the ruling CDC, Cllr. Mauana Ville, the party said Floyd Sayor compromised the integrity of the District #15 polls by failing to obey instructions from his immediate boss 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.
The ANC added that these ‘grave’ allegations against Mr. Sayor were never refuted at any time, and more importantly, the ruling of the Dispute Hearing Officer was affirmed and the rerun or the election was ordered and held.
Excerpt of the communication: “ANC cannot, in good faith, as a nation and a people, allow Mr. Sayor, an individual with such record of blatant disregard for authority; someone who carelessly handled the supervision of elections, to be given a seat on the commission that manages elections in our democracy. Hence, the law requires that a nominee is required to “be of good moral character” (Section 2.2 of Elections Law of Liberia).”
The ANC continued: “Based on the above, the lack of the required qualifications, poor character and judgment of Cllr. Nwabudike and Mr. Sayor, they are unfit to hold the positions as Chairman and Commissioner of the NEC respectively and this Honorable Committee must reject their nominations. We therefore request the Committee for the opportunity to provide additional testimonies as to the lack of qualification of Cllr. Nwabudike and Mr. Sayor. It is our hope that the Committee sees just reasons to invite us to the confirmation hearing and have Cllr. Nwabudike and Mr. Sayor rejected and save the integrity of our elections and democracy.”