The ninth Nigerian Senate has just rejected the nomination of Lauretta Onochie as presented by President Muhammadu Buhari for the post of Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for Delta state.
The upper chamber made this decision following report presented by the Chairman of the House committee on INEC, Kabiru Gaya.
Gaya said Onochie did not satisfy the provisions of the Federal Character Principles because there is already a serving National Electoral Commissioner from Delta State, Barr. Mary Agbamuche-Mbu comfirmed by the 8th senate.
He added that the Committee received several petitions against the nominations of Ms. Lauretta Onochie and one other nominee, Professor Sani Muhammad Adam, whose confirmation was also suspended.
“In the case of Ms. Lauretta Onochie’s, having studied her curriculum vitae and other relevant documents, followed by exhaustive interaction around the petitions against her nomination which she responded to accordingly, including attesting that she is not a registered member of any political party,” Gaya said.
Subsequently, the federal lawmakers voted against the nomination.
President Muhammadu Buhari had written to the Senate in October 2020, to confirm the appointment of Onochie who is currently his media aide on Social Media, and three others as Commissioners of INEC.
But Onochie’s npmintion was greeted with intense criticism owing to her involvement in politics and alleged membership of a All Progressives Congress (APC), an accusation she has denied.
According to her, from 2019 till date she has not had anything to do with any political organisation and did not partake in APC’s recent validation exercise.
“Therefore, based on the provisions of Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended) on Federal Character Principle as earlier stated, and in order for the Committee and the Senate to achieve fairness to other states and political zones in the country, the committee is unable to recommend Ms. Lauretta Onochie for confirmation as a National Electoral Commissioner for the Independent National Electoral Commission,” Gaya added.