The Senate has rejected Lauretta Onochie, an Aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, as a National Commissioner for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, .
Onochie, a Special Assistant to the President, on Social Media, was nominated by President Buhari on October 13, 2020, alongside 3 others as Commissioners of the Electoral body.
President Buhari, in the letter, had said: “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 Commissioners for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.”
It was gathered that the Senate Committee discovered that Onochie is “greatly partisan, based on her conviction that the All Progressives Congress, APC, and President Buhari are the best for Nigeria”.
Apart from the fact that opposition Senators in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, were unanimous in their rejection of Onochie, some APC Senators were also opposed to her emergence.
A Senator who spoke in confidence said: “We were able to confirm the allegation of partisanship against Onochie, in the course of our checks. Her nomination was faulty from the outset.
“We do not begrudge her for standing by her conviction. But in the light of…, she cannot be a National Commissioner for INEC. A nominee cannot profess bias for politics, or any party.
“To avoid heating up the Senate and a likely conflict with the Presidency, we decided to ‘step down’ her confirmation. This is a middle course approach, which will not embarrass both the Presidency and the nominee, whose dossiers are already with the opposition parties, especially the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.”
Responding to a question, the Senator said: “I can confidently tell you that our Leadership has got in touch with the Presidency, on our decision on Onochie. We have asked the Presidency to forward another nominee to us.”