THE Senate on Tuesday rejected the nomination of Ms Lauretta Onochie as a national commissioner for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The rejection of Ms Onochie’s nomination was sequel to the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on INEC which had the responsibility of screening Ms Onochie and the other nominees forwarded to the Senate by President Buhari in October 2020.
The committee’s chairman, Senator Kabiru Gaya, who presented the report, recommended that Ms Onochie’s appointment be rejected. Senator Gaya said she was disqualified based on federal character principles, stating that there is currently a serving commissioner from Delta State where Ms Onochie hails from.
Ms Onochie, currently the Personal Assistant to the President on New Media, was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2020 as an INEC commissioner to represent Delta State. Since her nomination, many civil society organisations and individuals inundated the Senate with petitions against her clearance describing it as unconstitutional.
Others called on President to withdraw the nomination on grounds that Ms Onochie is partisan and that it would be undemocratic for her to be appointed into such a sensitive position. The main opposition party, PDP, had also protested against her nomination. But despite the criticisms and opposition, the Senate went ahead to screen her last Thursday, July 8, 2021.
The report of the Senate committee was adopted in the Committee of the Whole and Ms Onochie was rejected while the lawmakers the confirmed five other nominees, which include Muhammad Kallah, Kunle Ajayi, Babura Ahmad, Sani Adam and Abdullahi Zuru, the confirmation of one nominee, Baba Bila, was stepped down.