- She’s A ‘known Partisan Supporter of Buhari, APC’, Says Coalition
- Falana Lists Criteria For Nomination
Several groups in the country have flayed President Muhammadu Buhari for nominating his Special Assistant on Social Media, Mrs Lauretta Onochie as a Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Alongside Onochie, who is from Delta state, President Buhari, in a letter to the Senate, also nominated Prof. Mohammed Sani from Katsina State, Prof. Kunle Ajayi of Ekiti State and Jigawa’s Seidu Ahmed.
However, minutes after Onochie’s nomination was announced by Senate President Ahmad Lawan at plenary, Tuesday, Nigerians took to the social media to pour vituperations against the nomination.
The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, a coalition of over 70 CSOs monitoring electoral process in the country condemned her nomination, describing Lauretta as Buhari’s partisan supporter. The coalition also asked Buhari to withdraw her name without much ado.
In a statement issued by its convener, Clement Nwankwo, said she is a “known partisan supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari and his ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).”
Stating its case further, the Coalition averred that: “Item F, Paragraph 14 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) forbids a partisan politician as a member of INEC – a body charged under the constitution to unbiasedly conduct free and fair elections.
“Her nomination amounts to a major attempt at undermining efforts to build credibility for an improved electoral process in the country.”
Also, speaking at a press conference, Tuesday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Spokesman, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan described the nomination as “a highly provocative assault on the nation’s constitution and democratic process.”
Hed added that Buhari has “failed to fulfil his promise of leaving a legacy of credible elections, having failed in all ramifications of governance.”
The Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond led by legal luminary, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), while faulting Lauretta’s nomination by President Buhari said she is a card-carrying member of a registered political party and as such was not fit for such a role.
In a statement, Tuesday, Falana listed some criteria provided in the constitution to determine who was fit for the position.
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He said, “In view of the desire of President Muhammadu Buhari to fill some vacancies in the Independent National Electoral Commission, it has become pertinent to draw the attention of the Council of State and Senate to the following provisions of the constitution.
“In appointing the members of the INEC, the President is required to consult with the Council of State pursuant to section 154 (3) of the constitution;
“Paragraph B of Part 1 of the 3rd Schedule to the constitution provides that “The Council of State shall have power to advise the President in the exercise of his powers with respect to (iv) the Independent National Electoral Commission including the appointment of the members of the commission.
“Pursuant to section 154 (1) of the constitution, the appointment of the members of the Independent National Electoral Commission shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate.
“Paragraph 14 of Part 1 of the third Schedule to the constitution as amended by Section 30, Act No 1 of 2010, a member of the Independent National Electoral Commission “shall be non-partisan”.
“From the foregoing, 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.
“As an unrepentant member of the ruling party, Mrs Loretta Onochie, has consistently attacked members of other political parties. To that extent, she is partisan and therefore not qualified to be a member of the Independent National Electoral Commission.” Falana said.