The Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is set to move on with the confirmation and screening of Lauretta Onochie as a candidate for the position of the INEC National Commissioner, despite huge disapproval from Nigerians with evidence on why she should not be cleared.
Reports making rounds have indicated that Lauretta Onochie, who is the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Media is affiliated with the All Progressives Congress (APC). However, she has come out to debunk such claims in which she stated that she withdrew her membership of the party in 2019 and has challenged anyone who thinks otherwise to come out with evidence.
Following this, many Nigerians have reacted with series of evidence to prove that Lauretta Onochie is partisan and still a part of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and is not fit to be the Commissioner of the electoral umpire.
Recall that in October, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari nominated Ms. Onochie and three other candidates to head the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The letter was read by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan;
“Pursuant to Paragraph 14 of Part I(F) of the Third Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, I hereby forward for confirmation by the Senate, the appointment of the following four (4) Commissioners for the Independent National Electoral Commission.The nominees listed by the President are Prof. Muhammad Sani Kallah (Katsina); Prof. Kunle Ajayi ( Ekiti); and Saidu Ahmad (Jigawa).”
Former INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega has reacted to the controversies that have emerged following the nomination of Ms. Onochie as INEC Commissioner. In an interview with Channels Television, he shared the view that the President should find another suitable, credible woman from Delta or Cross River states as Lauretta Onochie’s nomination has raised a lot of suspicion. In his words,
“To be honest, the President can just withdraw her nomination. After all, there are so many other women with credibility, capacity, and competence in Delta state and Cross River state. So why bring somebody that can generate controversy in this regard and raise suspicion on the intention of the appointment? I think we should put this controversy behind us and do the right thing.”
From some of the documents I have been privileged to see, both her British citizenship and also her belonging to a political party until 2019, if we believe she had disengaged from the party since 2019, you will try to avoid appointing such people into electoral commission because it can create controversy,” he further stated.