Leading civil society organizations (CSOs) have threatened legal action over the nomination of Ms. Laurette Onochie as a Commissioner in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The CSOs at a press conference on Thursday in Abuja, said that President Buhari nominating his aide as a National Commissioner of INEC, via a letter sent to the senate leadership for screening and confirmation on 13th October 2020, is unwholesome.
The Executive Director, Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre, and Convener Say No Campaign Nigeria, Ezenwa Nwagwu; and the Executive Director, Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) Faith Nwadishi who spoke on behalf of others said that they completely reject this nomination, which does not sit well in the recent gains of the electoral system in the country.
This is as the Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), Eze Onyekpere, in an interview with our correspondent, urged President Buhari, to immediately withdraw the nomination, as she will not augur well for INEC and the nation, due to her known partisanship and disposition to issues in the country.
“By this statement, we appeal and call on the President to withdraw this nomination with immediate effect and or in the alternative the civil society will take legal actions to ensure that this nomination is not confirmed by the Senate of the Federal Republic.”
They said, “Whereas the 1999 Nigeria constitution (As amended) in the 3rd schedule, part 2f, paragraph 14(b) provides that National Electoral Commissioners of INEC, shall be non-partisan and persons of unquestionable integrity, who shall be nominated by the president.
“Whereas, INEC, is an independent body overseeing the electoral processes in the country without any affiliation to any of the political parties should not have any of its governing bodies member identified as a person sympathetic to any political party.
“We are therefore troubled that Lauretta Onochie, a serving aide of the President who openly supports the president and his political party, has been nominated to the position of National Commissioner, INEC.
“Any INEC National commissioner should enjoy the trust and confidence of all parties concerned (Ruling and Opposition), Ms. Onochie failed this critical test with her several open confrontations with opposition elements through the media.”
They said that if the President feels so strongly to reward Lauretta Onochie for her loyalty and die-hard support, there are other areas of appointment the president can consider, but certainly not INEC.
“We, therefore, call on the President to withdraw this nomination with immediate effect and in the alternative call on the Senate to act as gatekeepers by not confirming this appointment,” they said.
Other signatories are Idayat Hassan, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD); Samson Itodo, Yiaga Africa; Vivian Bello, Social Action; Olanrewaju Siraj, HEDA Resource Center; Okechukwu Nwaguma, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC); Zikirullahi Ibrahim, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED); Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, WARDC and Comfort Attah, Ashh Foundation, Bauchi among others.