The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) in Akwa Ibom State has kicked against the Senate clearing Lauratta Onochie as a commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC).
Chairman of CLO, Franklyn Isong, said already Onochie’s nomination breached the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), as she is currently serving as the special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on new media.
Isong emphasized that as a card-carrying member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party, Onochie does not qualify for the appointment.
In a press briefing on Monday in Uyo, the CLO said the appointment had triggered outrage among Nigerians as many individuals and groups have been calling for her rejection as nominee.
“The appointment had triggered outrage among Nigerians with many individuals and groups calling for the rejection of the nominee who has openly declared membership for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“She had also campaigned for President Buhari in 2015 and the CLO is of the view that if her nomination is confirmed by the Senate, it will mar future elections and casts doubts on the independence of INEC.
“Section 156(1)a) and third schedule, Part 1, Item F, Paragraph 14(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) outrightly disqualified any person in partisan politics and card-carrying member of a political party from being appointed into INEC as an electoral umpire,” he stated.
Onochie’s nomination to be an INEC commissioner has been deeply controversial.
The screening comes eight months after she was nominated by the president.
On Wednesday, People’s Democratic Party stormed the National Assembly to protest her nomination to represent south-south at INEC.
“We are here protesting today to make the final point of total rejection of Lauretta Onochie, that she must be totally rejected by the Senate and National Assembly, she is partisan,” said PDP chairman Uche Secondus, who led the protest.
“We don’t need INEC to be polluted. If she’s cleared, then she will be representing one party called APC (All Progressives Congress) and that can cause a lot of problems for our country,” Secondus said.
On Friday, two days later, the Nigeria Women for Good Governance and Inclusive Government, lent their voices to the ongoing protests against the unexplained delayed confirmation of Onochie.
They stormed the National Assembly Complex to say they were displeased with the treatment meted to Onochie, on baseless excuses.
And in early June, the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, YIAGA Africa and nine other civil society organisations petitioned the Senate to oppose her appointment.