Lawmakers at the National Assembly have rejected the nomination of President Muhammadu Buhariá aide, Lauretta Onochie, as a National Commissioner for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Giving their reason, the Senator Kabiru Gaya-led Senate Committee on INEC, in its report, said that Onochie did not satisfy the provisions of the Federal Character Principles.
Gaya in his presentation said the committee received several petitions against the nominations of Onochie bordering on her involvement in politics and alleged membership of a political party.
According to him, her nomination violated the Federal Character Principle as there is already a serving National Electoral Commissioner from Delta State, Barr. Mary Agbamuche-Mbu who was screened and confirmed by the 8th Senate.
“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.
“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,” he said.
However, the Senate at the committee of the whole subsequently voted against her nomination. Aside from Onochie, the lawmakers also stepped down the confirmation of Professor Sani Adam from North Central following the recommendation of the INEC panel over petitions against him.
Meanwhile, after thoroughly considering the report, the lawmakers confirmed the appointment of five National Commissioners for the nation’s electoral body.
The nominees who were confirmed include Prof. Muhammad Sani Kallah (Katsina); Prof. Kunle Ajayi ( Ekiti); and Saidu Ahmad (Jigawa), Baba Bila (North East), and Abdullahi Zuru (North- West).