Tuesday, August 9, 2022

PDP demands rejection of APC operative Lauretta Onochie as INEC commissioner

President Muhammadu Buhari, had in October 2020 nominated Ms Onochie, a card carrying member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as commissioners of INEC in violation of the Constitution.

• June 30, 2021
PDP protest and Lauretta Onochie
A photo of PDP protest and Lauretta Onochie used to illustrate the story

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Wednesday stormed the National Assembly in protest, demanding that Lauretta Onochie be rejected as National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

President Muhammadu Buhari, had in October 2020 nominated Ms Onochie, a card carrying member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as commissioners of INEC in violation of the Constitution. 

The National Chariman of the opposition party, Uche Secondus, led leaders of the party in protest against Ms Onochie’s nomination which is before the Nigerian Senate for consideration. 

“We are here to make the final point on total rejection of Lauretta Onochie,” Mr Secondus said. “She must be totally rejected by the National Assembly.” 

Receiving the protesters at the National Assembly gate, Enyinnaya Abaribe, the Senate Minority leader, who is also a PDP member, reassured members of the opposition party that their demands will be looked into.

Though the partisan Ms Onochie has been widely condemned as unfit to be an INEC commissioner, Mr Lawan on June 9 directed the senate committee on INEC to proceed with her screening with a view to confirming her appointment as a high ranking official of the electoral body. 

The provision of the Constitution states that appointees of the electoral body must be non-partisan and must not be affiliated to any political party. 

Section 14(2a) of the Third Schedule of  the 1999 Constitution, as amended, have that  “a member of the commission shall be non-partisan and a person of unquestionable integrity.” 

Also, Section 14(3b) of the Schedule adds that  “there shall be for each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja, a Resident Electoral Commissioner who shall be a person of unquestionable integrity and shall not be a member of any political party,” a provision that does not exclude the appointment of Resident Electoral Commissioners.

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