President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on New Media, Lauretta Onochie, has been screened by the Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for appointment as National Commissioner of INEC.
The screening exercise took place on Thursday and was done alongside other nominees. Empire earlier reported criticism over the appointment of the presidential aide.
The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and civil society organizations have said her nomination as an election officer was not right, being a card-carrying member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
However, Onochie has said in her introductory speech that she is not partisan. She noted that she had been petitioned by the opposition party as well as the ruling party. She noted that those opposing her knows her to be non-partisan and one who stands on due process and ensures the right things are done.
However, members of the Committee have queried her stance to be non-partisan. Senator Istifanus Gyang questioned her affidavit, which confirms her as a member of the APC.
On his part, Senator Ike Ekweremadu noted that her nomination is a breach of the principle of Federal character.
He stated that although Lauretta has been nominated for the second slot for the South-South, there was a nominee also from Delta State whose tenure will soon expire. He said if the appointment stands, then the Niger Delta states will not be equally represented.
Ekweremadu advised Lauretta to pull out her nomination and protect the integrity of President Buhari.
In his opinion, Senator Lawal Gumau said there is nothing wrong with Lauretta’s nomination and maintained that all the petitions against her are sentiments.
Responding, Onochie stated that the INEC National Commissioner referenced by Senator Ekweremadu was May Agbamuche Mgbu.
She noted that Mgbu was nominated under her husband’s state – Cross River and not Delta State. She explained that since the President’s second term, she had distanced herself from all political matters.
She insisted that from 2019 till date, she has not had anything to do with any political organization and did not take part in the validation exercise of the ruling party