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National Commissioners

Mohammed Haruna was born in Ibadan, Oyo State, on September 22, 1951. He had his primary school education at Tudun Wada Junior Primary School, Kano (1957 to 1960) and Kuka Primary School, Kano (1961 to 1964). He attended Government College, Bida, his home town, between 1965 and 1969, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, between 1971 and 1975, Glasgow College of Technology, Scotland, in 1979/1980, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1983/1984 and Harvard Advanced Management Programme in 1995.

He worked in New Nigerian Newspapers Company Ltd. between 1976 and 1989 where he rose from a cub reporter to managing director. He was co-founder and chief executive of the rested Citizen news magazine between 1990 and 1994.

He served in the military administration of General Abdulsalami Alhaji Abubakar as his chief press secretary between October 1998 and May 1999. He taught in the Mass Communications Department of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, as a Senior Lecturer between 2008 and 2014.

Haruna was a political columnist between 1978 and 2016 in several publications including New Nigerian, Today, Trust, Nation, Gamji.com and Newsdiaryonline.

In recent years he has delivered papers on Politics, Journalism and Mass Communication as a resource person at seminars, lectures and workshops organised by universities and institutions like the Nigerian Press Council, the Nigerian Guild of Editors and the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Haruna is a Fellow of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria, Nigerian Guild of Editors and African Center for Democratic Governance.

May Agbamuche-Mbu is a seasoned legal practitioner with over three decades of experience working with diverse clients in both the Public and Private sector. May hails from Delta State though she was born in Kano where she attended St. Louis Secondary School, later graduating from the University of Ife (Now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1984 with an LLB in Law.

After her call to the Bar in 1985, she attended the College of Law, London and qualified as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. May has an LLM with specialisation in Commercial and Corporate Law from Queen Mary and Westfield College, London and completed two postgraduate degree programs in International Dispute Resolution and International Business Law respectively.

May is also an expert in Alternative Dispute Resolution and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators of the United Kingdom Nigeria branch where she has served as Secretary to the Institute.

Between March 2010 and November 2011 May served on the Presidential Projects Assessment Committee (PPAC) as the sole solicitor, evaluating an extensive nationwide portfolio of major unfinished public projects in Nigeria and in March 2016, May was further appointed a member of the Ministerial Committee set up to prepare ‘The Road Map for the Solid Minerals Sector’.

Before her appointment as a National Commissioner for INEC, May was the managing partner of her law firm in Lagos, Norfolk Partners and also the editor of THISDAY LAWYER, a weekly legal pullout in one of the nation’s most widely read newspapers. From January 2014 to September 2016, May published 120 legal editorials under her column LEGAL EAGLE. Her consistent exposure to public affairs/related projects put her in a unique position to build a reputable body of commentary and expert opinion in many specialised areas. Her work remains a source of public advocacy on many national and international issues.

Festus Okoye Esq. is a Barrister, Solicitor and Notary Public of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. He holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) from the University of Jos (1984) and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1985. Between 1993 and 1994 he undertook a Graduate Program in International Human Rights Law at the University of Minnesota as a Hubert Humphrey Fellow (HHF).

He served as General Secretary of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) from 1982-1983, the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Kaduna Branch in 1997 and was elected as the National Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association in 1997. In 2006, he attended a course on Democracy and Elections: Challenges for the 21st Century (June 5-June 15, 2006) at the American University Centre for Democracy and Election Management.

Between 2002 and 2006, Mr. Okoye served as the Chair of the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), a coalition of Nigerian civil society groups instrumental to ensuring credible elections. He also served as Executive Director of Human Rights Monitor (HRM) and the National Coordinator of the Independent Election Monitoring Group (IEMG) between 2006 and 2018.

He served as the Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association Human Rights Institute in 2011 and as its Alternate Chairman in 2013. He also served as Alternate Chairman, NBA Election Working Group and as the Chair of the NBA Election Working Group and a Consultant to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) between 2016 and 2018.

He was a member of the Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) in 2007 and served as a Civil Society Delegate to the 2014 National Conference. He also served in the INEC Committee on the Review of Judgments on Election Petition Cases (2013) and on the Committee on Management of Election Petitions (2015).  Okoye also served in the General Abisoye Civil Disturbances Jos Panel (2008).In 1992 he received the Human Rights Watch Award in the United States for courageous work in researching, monitoring and documenting human rights violations in Nigeria.

 In 2009 he received the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) Nigeria; and award for mentoring young leaders from Coalitions for Change (C4C) and the Excellence award from the Nigerian Bar Association in 2004.

Presently he serves as a Human Rights Ambassador of the National Human Rights Commission.

He maintained a weekly column known as “Hard Choices” in the New Telegraph Newspaper in Nigeria and contributes opinion articles to Nigerian newspapers and magazines up to 2018.

He specializes in Justice Sector Reforms; Constitutional and Electoral Matters; Public Interest Law; Conflict, Violence and Security.

He was appointed a National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in July 2018 and is currently the Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee. He supervises Anambra, Benue and Enugu State.

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