NIGERIANS CONDEMN PRESIDENT BUHARI'S NOMINATION OF HIS MEDIA AIDE, LAURETTA ONOCHIE AS INEC COMMISSIONER IN DELTA
Nigerians have condemned the nomination of Mrs Lauretta Onochie, President Buhari's media aide, as the Commissioner of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Delta State.
Recall, on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, announced during the plenary that President Buhari nominated Mrs Lauretta Onochie and three others as INEC Commissioners in their respective States.
The three other nominees from the President include; Prof. Mohammed Sani representing Katsina; Prof. Kunle Ajayi representing Ekiti; and Seidu Ahmed representing Jigawa.
Onochie's appointment has triggered outrage from Nigerians, and also from the People's Democratic Party (PDP).
The PDP, who described the development as 'provocative, ominous, and an attack on the constitution and democratic practices' in a statement on its official Twitter handle, rejected the nomination on the grounds that Mrs Lauretta is an ardent member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Also, Human Rights Lawyer and Political Analyst, Femi Falana (SAN), has criticized the nomination of the Presidential aide, and claimed that she has consistently attacked members of other political parties.
He said; "It is crystal clear that a card-carrying member of a registered political party or a well-known supporter of a particular political party is constitutionally disqualified from the membership of the Independent National Electoral Commission."
Mallam Ahmed Raji, an Human Rights Activist and Lawyer told THIS DAY, while faulting the development, said any person occupying an office in INEC according to constitutional provisions must not belong to any political party.
“INEC as an institution is expected to be non-partisan in composition and performance. The relevant provisions of the constitution attest to this. Having regards to the position currently occupied by the highly respected lady of substance, I do not think the proposed appointment/nomination is in line with both the letters and spirit of our constitution," he said.
The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room urged President Buhari to withdraw the nomination of Mrs Onochie.
Convener of the Situation Room, Mr. Clement Nwankwo, said in a statement on Tuesday, October 13, that the nomination is an attempt to weaken the efforts to build a credible electoral process in Nigeria.
Quoting the 1999 Constitution, Nwankwo said paragraph 14 forbids a “partisan politician” as a member of the electoral body.
Minority Leader of the Senate, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, has also condemned Lauretta Onochie's nomination
Abaribe, who represents Abia South, described the nomination as a violation of the Constitution.
In the last 24 hours, Nigerians have taken to social media to express their displeasure and have demanded the National Assembly to reject the President's nomination.