Leaders of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has Wednesday stormed the National Assembly protesting for the immediate reversal of President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination of Lauretta Onochie as National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The group was led by the National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus. He described the appointment as a travesty on democracy.
Lauretta Onochie is currently the media aide to President Buhari on Social Media.
Secondus argued that Onochie being a card-carrying member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) should not be appointed into a position that requires a high level of neutrality.
He called on the leadership of the National Assembly to impress on the President to withdraw her nomination with immediate effect.
President Buhari had earlier in October wrote to the Senate to confirm the appointment of Lauretta Onochie, one of his media aides, and three others as Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Others are Professor Mohammed Sani (Katsina); Professor Kunle Ajayi (Ekiti), and Seidu Ahmed (Jigawa).
Meanwhile, the opposition party leaders have submitted a letter stating fully their demands and rejection of the nomination of Onochie, in a statement signed by the National Secretary of the party, Umaru Ibrahim Tsauri.
The letter reads thus:
Senate Committee on INEC,
National Assembly Complex,
Three Arms Zone,
REJECTION OF THE NOMINATION OF LAURETTA ONOCHIE
AS INEC COMMISSIONER
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has learnt of the nomination of Mrs Lauretta Onochie as a Commissioner in INEC by Mr President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The nomination which was read on the floor of the Senate and forwarded to your committee for screening has created a lot of misgivings in the court of public opinion and judgement.
Our Party considers it as important to bring to the attention of your committee the fact that our duty is to let you know that the National Assembly must endeavour to do things right and in accordance with the dictates of the laws of the country.
The Nigeria Constitution 1999 as amended clearly prohibits people like Mrs Onochie, who is very partisan, in fact, a card-carrying member of a political party to be appointed into INEC as an electoral umpire. Section 156(i)(a) and third schedule, Part 1, Item F, Paragraph 14(1) of the Constitution have outrightly disqualified her.
We are, therefore, writing to ask the Chairman to save the Senate President, the Senate itself and Mr President from being ridiculed.
We call on your committee to reject the nomination of Onochie because she cannot be neutral or independent as she is factually known to be an unrepentant card-carrying member of the APC with an uncountable number of proofs.
Her confirmation will be a wholesome abuse of democratic tenets and dragging the reputation of the President and the Senate into the political mud.
Please, don’t make an avoidable legislative and political mistake for the country.
Kindly, accept the assurances of our highest consideration and esteem regard.
Sen. Umaru Ibrahim Tsauri, CON