The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has begun mobilizing lawmakers of the National Assembly to stop the confirmation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Personal Assistant on Social Media, Mrs. Lauretta Onochie, as a national commissioner in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The movement started on Thursday, a day after the chamber revisited the nomination list of INEC commissioners presented by the President earlier last year.
Buhari, in a letter dated October 12, 2020, wrote the Senate to confirm Onochie and five others for the position.
But the list was heavily criticized on the grounds of her being a registered member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), in violation of Section 14(2a) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, states that “a member of the commission shall be non-partisan and a person of unquestionable integrity.”
The Senate had stepped down the consideration of the request following the outrage generated by the inclusion of Onochie, who hails from Delta state.
But the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan on Wednesday at plenary on directed the chamber’s committee on INEC to screen Onochie and the five others and give its report in the next month.
Although Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe challenged the inclusion of Onochie on the list, saying that “Mr. President, in seconding this motion, we have dealt with this matter of the nomination of Lauretta Onochie. So, we feel surprised that the same name has resurfaced no longer as a national commissioner, but as a Delta State commissioner.
“Mr. President, reluctantly, I second the motion that these nominations be referred to the relevant committee for action and we shall meet in Philippi.”
Reacting to the matter, the PDP’s National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said it was a shame that the APC-led government would nominate a card-carrying member of a political party as a national commissioner of INEC.
To this end, he said; “Our position is clear, we call on all our members, particularly the senators and the House of Representatives members, to ensure that Lauretta Onochei is not confirmed as an INEC commissioner
“Our position is predicated on the fact that Onochie is a card-carrying member of the APC. And as such, she cannot be an electoral umpire.”