Nigerians have been asked to reject the nomination of Ms. Lauretta Onochie as a commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
At a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, 11 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) said her confirmation by the Senate would spell doom for the nation’s democracy.
The CSOs raised major constitutional issues with the nomination of Onochie and requested the Senate to reject it forthwith.
At the briefing, the CSOs called for sustenance of pressure against the nomination of Onochie.
They said Onochie is not only a card-carrying member of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), and a Special Assistant to President Buhari on social media, but also “notorious for her partisan, biased and in some instances, inflammatory comments on national issues targeted at perceived or imagined enemies of the Buhari government”.
“With her antecedent, she is unlikely to be non-partisan, neutral and objective in her duties as an INEC National Commissioner if she is confirmed. Her appointment as a national commissioner or in the leadership of INEC will gravely undermine the neutrality and impartiality of the Commission, and taint its credibility.”
“Such an appointment will undermine citizens’ confidence in INEC, increase mistrust in the Commission and Nigeria’s electoral process. It will also jeopardize the trust of other political parties in the Commission,” they said.
They also asked Buhari to withdraw her nomination in public interest and in furtherance of his commitment to leave a legacy of a truly independent electoral institution that enjoys the trust and confidence of citizens and electoral stakeholders.
The CSOs are Yiaga Africa, Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa (PAACA) International Press Centre (IPC), Institute for Media and Society (IMS).
Others are The Albino Foundation, Centre for Citizens with Disability (CCD), Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF), Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), and CLEEN Foundation.