Despite denying allegiance to the All Progressives Congress (APC), an old tweet has now emerged, indicating that a presidential aide, Lauretta Onochie, supported and promoted the party in 2020, contrary to her claim that she quitted partisan politics in 2019.
Onochie had on Thursday appeared before the Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which screened her for the position of a national commissioner.
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She was nominated for the position by President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2020.
If confirmed, she would represent Delta State, and by extension, the South-South geopolitical zone in the commission.
However, her nomination has triggered outrage among Nigerians, with many describing it as unconstitutional.
Many Nigerians have asked the president to withdraw the nomination on the ground that Onochie is partisan, and so, it would be undemocratic for her to be appointed into such an office.
But Onochie, who said she had been out of politics since 2019, described herself as “madam due process.”
“I have seen the petitions against me, but I stand for justice and fairness, nobody has anything to fear. I am madam due process and this is the reason behind my attacks. I follow the law and due process.
“Since Buhari was elected as president for the second term, I have removed myself from everything about politics. Since 2019, I don’t have anything to do with politics. As I am sitting down here, I am not a member of any political party in this country,” she told the panel.
But Onochie’s claim has been found to be false as a tweet by the presidential aide on June 24, 2020 shows she promoted the APC, stating that the party was going through a growth process.
Onochie, via her verifiable twitter handle, @Laurestar, tweeted, “There is definitely an APC e-NEC meeting tomorrow.”
Reacting to the development yesterday, the director, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Idayat Hassan, told Daily Trust Saturday that she hoped Onochie would be tried for perjury.
“It goes beyond being a card-carrying member; we must emphasise that she is partisan and cannot be neutral towards the APC. At the same time, the Senate will make a mockery of proposals if they clear Onochie. The little trust the citizens is bound to be broken,” Hassan said.
Also speaking, the executive director, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Dr Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi, said it was a disgrace that a “rabidly partisan nominee who should have been withdrawn from consideration as INEC national commissioner is being pushed through at all cost.”
He said her “despicable act of lying” under oath that she is not a member of the APC should earn her prosecution for perjury.
“It beats imagination that the Buhari regime is insisting on forcing such a tainted nominee on the electoral system. What is going on is a clear attempt to subvert the real tenets of democracy and the rule of law. It is not acceptable and must be rejected, using all lawful means,” Zikirulahi said.
On his part, the executive director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and head, Transparency International (TI) in Nigeria, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said it was rather unfortunate that both Onochie and the government that sent her nomination did not respect constitutional provisions, which clearly states that no partisan person or someone with a questionable character is qualified to be an INEC commissioner.
Additional report from Premeium Times
According to him, all available evidences have shown that she is still a member of the ruling party and that she has been a strong ruling party supporter, which automatically disqualified her from becoming a commissioner in INEC