Senate rejects Lauretta Onochi’s approval and demands a new candidate
The Senate refused to approve the President’s Special Assistant for Social Media Lauretta Onochi as the National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The House has asked the president to replace Onochi, whose appointment divided the senators.
The president is currently considering his options for her, although she may still re-nominate a candidate depending on political circumstances.
The fate of Onochi postpones the approval of three more people from the list presented to the Senate by President Muhammad Bukhari.
On October 13, Bukhari appointed Onochi and three other INEC commissioners: Professor Muhammad Sani Kallah (citizen of Katsina state); Professor Kunle Cornelius Ajayi (Ekiti) and Saidu Babura Ahmad (Permanent Election Commissioner, REC (Jigawa).
Bukhari said in a letter: “In accordance with paragraph 14 of Part I (F) of the Third Agenda of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, I hereby submit to the Senate for approval the appointment of the next four members of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).”
The nation has gathered evidence that a Senate committee found Onochi “very biased, based on his belief that the All-Progressive Congress (APC) and President Bukhari are best for Nigeria.”
Some APC senators not only protested to the opposition, but also agreed that his dedication to his work was “positively biased”, as it became known.
Worried APC senators vowed that they would not approve of his admission, as the Osun permanent election commissioner was rejected under similar circumstances.
The results confirmed that, despite his genius, most senators do not want Onochi because his approval process could “destroy the guerrilla accord in the Senate.
The senator, who spoke in confidence, said, “We were able to confirm the bias charge against Onochi during our checks. His appointment was wrong from the start.
“We don’t blame her for keeping her faith. But in the light … he cannot be the National Commissioner of INEC. A candidate cannot profess a bias against politics or any party.
“To avoid stirring up the Senate and a possible conflict with the presidency, we decided to withdraw its approval.
“This is a mid-level approach that will not embarrass either the president or a candidate whose files are already in opposition parties, in particular the People’s Democratic Party (NDP).”
Answering the question, the senator said: “I can confidently say that our leadership has been in contact with the president about our decision on Onochi. We asked the Presidium to present another candidate.
“We have decided to suspend legislative action on three other candidates on the same list, and Onochi is awaiting a response from the president.”
The senator said the chamber is committed to protecting the integrity of INEC and the 2023 polls.
He said, “Some of us were uncomfortable with Onochi because of our determination to protect the integrity of the 2023 vote and the integrity of the electoral referee. If we want to get a reliable overview, the whole process must be flawless.
“The appointment and approval of Onochi (if we go further) will bring a lot of cases to court. We believe that the Senate should not seem stupid. Nothing personal against her; we must respect the constitution.
“This is the second time we have made this decision. In December 2019, the Senate rejected Rahim Muydin, who had been appointed by the president as the permanent election commissioner. There was a petition against him for membership in the agro-industrial complex.
“The lesson from this is that the presidency must do due diligence before submitting a list of candidates for the Senate. Onochi may be a minister, but not an INEC national commissioner. “
A presidential source said, “The government is exploring its options.”
Source: – The Nation