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Senate rejects Onochie as INEC commissioner 

The committee said there is currently a serving commissioner from Delta state, where Onochie hails from.

The Senate has rejected Lauretta Onochie as a national commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, a move the main opposition party has called a victory for democracy and Nigerians.

Onochie was rejected following the consideration of the report of the Committee on INEC, chaired by Senator Kabiru Gaya, (APC, Kano).

The Senate also stood down the approval of Professor Sani Mohammed Adam till further legislative action.

The panel recommended Onochie’s disqualification on the grounds that her nomination is in violation of Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution on the Principle of Federal Character.

Gaya said in line with the principle of federal character, Onochie could not make the list of confirmed nominees because she comes from Delta State which has already produced a sitting National Commissioner, May Agbamuche-Mbu.

“Her nomination violated the federal character principle and national unity. Other sections of the country has also presented petitions against her nomination.”

“In 2016, we confirmed a national commissioner from Delta State, Mrs May Mbu and confirming Lauretta from the same Delta State will violate the federal character,” Gaya said.

Following the committee’s recommendations, the Senate stepped down the confirmation of Prof Adam from North Central on the grounds that it has not cleared the nominee of petitions surrounding his nomination.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan therefore mandated the committee to do further legislative action and report back in two weeks.

Onochie’s nomination had sparked a massive outrage from civil society groups, opposition lawmakers, and even some members of the ruling party.

Many had argued that she was “too partisan” to be a commissioner in an important institution like INEC.

When she appeared before the senate panel last week, the presidential aide was asked to respond to allegations that she was a card-carrying member of the ruling party but she had denied it.

Onochie had claimed that she stopped being a member of any political party since 2019 but reports showed that she lied.

President Muhammadu Buhari had refused to bow to the pressure of withdrawing her nomination.

Onochie was screened by the senate nine months after her nomination.

She was nominated alongside five others.

Victory for Nigerians, Democracy – PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described the Senate’s rejection as the triumph of the Nigerian people over the barefaced attempt to corrupt and hijack the commission ahead of 2023 elections.
In a statement by the spokesman of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party asserted that the rejection of Lauretta Onochie by Nigerians has saved the nation from very serious crisis as well as salvaged INEC and the entire Nigerian electoral process from a ruinous pollution that would have led to the collapse of our democratic order.
“The party asserts that Onochie’s vexatious nomination, in total affront to paragraph 14 of the 3rd schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), was a very dangerous machination by the Buhari-led APC Presidency against our electoral process, in the attempt to subvert the will of the people in the 2023 elections.
“The APC, in spite of its shenanigans, is aware that it will have difficulties winning election at any level in a free, fair and credible election and as such it is determined to rig every process ahead of the 2023 elections.
“Our party, therefore, commends Nigerians including civil society organizations, the media as well as other political parties, for joining forces with the PDP in fighting for the sanctity of our electoral process by resisting Onochie’s nomination.
“The stiff resistance displayed by Nigerians across board, in repelling this vicious attempt to hijack and pollute the electoral commission, underscores their collective and unwavering determination to resist and kick out the APC in 2023, despite its shenanigans.”

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