INEC: Why Onochie should be confirmed, Lawyers write Senate | Dailytrust

INEC: Why Onochie should be confirmed, Lawyers write Senate

Lauretta Onochie (Delta)
Lauretta Onochie (Delta)

Another set of lawyers have written to the Senate to confirm Lauretta Onochie, the President’s Special Adviser on Social Media as one of the Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In a letter addressed to the Chairman, Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Kabiru Gaya, the lawyers of Jackson, Kargbo & Co called on the Committee not to heed the call of other legal practitioners demanding the rejection of Onochie’s nomination.

They argued that there is no reason for the Buhari’s nominee not to be confirmed as INEC National Commissioner.

“Like others who comfort themselves with the fancy that Mrs Lauretta Onochie could be disqualified from being appointed to the office of a Commissioner of INEC because she is a staff of Mr President, the Petitioner ignored the fundamental fact that your oath of office enjoins you to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and not such adverse sentiments as those against Mrs Lauretta Onichie. It is in that spirit that I implore you to note how the content of the Petitioner’ letter betrayed the confusion and misunderstanding of the role of the Senate in the appointment of Mrs Lauretta Onochie.”

Continuing it said: “The Petitioner made the argument that the appointment of Mrs Lauretta Onochie is against the provisions of Sections 154(3), Paragraphs 14(2)(a) and 14(3)(b) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution and Section 152 of the Electoral Act. Because of his reference to the mentioned paragraphs of the Third Schedule, I guess that The Petitioner also intended to refer to Section 156(1)(a) of the Constitution that provides that:

(1) No person shall be qualified for appointment as a member of any of the bodies aforesaid if – (a) he is not qualified or if he is disqualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives provided that a member of any of these bodies shall not be required to belong to a political party, and in the case of the Independent National Electoral Commission, he shall not be a member of a political party;

“It is also not easy to grasp the relationship between Section 152 of the Electoral Act and Mrs Lauretta Onochie’s appointment. That section provides that: 152. Without prejudice to the other provisions of this Act, the Commission may delegate any of its powers and functions to any National Electoral Commissioner, Resident Electoral Commissioner, Electoral Officer, any other officer of the Commission or any other officer appointed under the provision of this Act subject to any conditions or limitations which it may consider necessary or expedient to impose and no such delegation shall be construed to limit the right of the Commission to exercise such power, itself.” The letter read in part.

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