Nigerian Senate rejects President Muhammed Buhari’s aide, Lauretta Onochie as electoral commission chairman

The Nigerian Senate has rejected the Personal Assistant to the President Muhammed Buhari on New Media, Lauretta Onochie, as Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)

Penpushing reports that, the rejection came from the Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) because there is currently no vacancy for Delta State (where she hails from) as a National Commissioner,

The Committee  Chairperson, Kabiru Gaya, while  presenting  the report of the vetting carried on the President nominee(Onochie) said, declared that it was resolved in the committee recommendation  to reject the appointment.

Penpushing further reports that, Gaya explained that Onochie was disqualified based on federal character principles as there is currently a serving commissioner from Delta State, where she hails from.

The president nomination of  Onochie was a glaring fact that he committed another blunder in addition to his disregard for the Nigerian Constititution which forbids him from nominating partisan individuals for such a position.

Penpushing also reports that, Buhari committed a similar blunder in the past when he appointed dead people to boards of federal parastatals, a shocking development which attracted criticism from within and outside the country

Section 14(1)(a&b) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution as amended stipulates that “the…Commission (INEC) shall comprise the following members: a). a chairman, who shall be the Chief Electoral Commissioner; b). twelve other members to be known as National Electoral Commissioners.”

Penpushing reports that, that means that two national commissioners must be drawn from each of the country’s six geopolitical zones, just as it is also recalled that Onochie who is not just a presidential aide but also a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The rejected nominee is known to have repeatedly expressed partisan views in the past, while in  2018 and 2019, campaigned  for the president’s second term (#NextLevel Agenda), and her nomination triggered outrage among Nigerians.

Penpushing further reports that, individuals and civic groups asked the president to withdraw the nomination on grounds that she (Onochie) is partisan, while many also said her appointment could jeopardise the credibility of future elections.

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