The Senate rejected Lauretta Onochie’s nomination, citing the federal character principle; despite numerous petitions against her.
The President, Muhammadu Buhari had in a letter dated 12th October 2020 asked the senate to confirm the appointment of Onochie as a National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission representing Delta state. Referring to the decision to appoint Lauretta Onochie, as INEC Commissioner.
Yunusa, a Personal Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, who is in support of absolute reform of the electoral process, says democracy is worth celebrating despite the challenges facing the country.
His words: “There is no doubt that the occasion remains significant and is worth celebrating even with the problem of political nomadism in the country. There is the issue of appointing people, who belong to a political party into the electoral commission to oversee the voting process”.
“You cannot approbate and reprobate by having people like Onochie in INEC. If we don’t purge our electoral system, we would not be able to sustain our democracy and that is not good for us.”
Lauretta Onochie who is or was a presidential aide on media has been described as controversial; in some quarters, daring and courageous. Onochie in 2018 had tweeted a picture of a road being constructed and captioned it “Nasarawa-Jos Road”; when it was a picture uploaded to Getty images in 2015.
According to a report by the ICR, out of 1058 pictures uploaded by Onochie on Twitter between August 2018 and July 2019, it allegedly occurred in at least 12 cases. There are a handful of scenarios where she even misattributed a quote to former President, Olu gun Obasanjo.
Lauretta Onochie has been everything but for right, she hasn’t been a model citizen and to think that anyone will regard her, considering her antecedent as a media aide baffles me.
Enyinnaya Abaribe, Minority Leader of the Senate wondered why no other nominee was chosen to replace Lauretta after over six months the President had first written to the National Assembly.
Why is the President insisting on having Onochie as part of Nigeria’s election umpire? In a second letter to the National Assembly, the President insisted that he was nominating her as a National Electoral Commissioner representing Delta state and not as a Resident Electoral Commissioner.
Apart from the issue regarding, what state she is representing, Onochie like Peter in the bible blatantly denied her membership of the All progressive congress. However, there are revelations that Onochie who is also a citizen of Britain is a card-carrying member of the British Conservative Party and had contested for a Councillorship position in the UK. I wonder what members of the All Progressive Congress think of her, after swearing an oath that she belonged to the party; she makes a quick turnaround to say she had left Politics and was no longer partisan.
Will she become partisan then; if she’s not appointed again?
The Constitution in Item F, paragraph 14(2)(c), states that a member of INEC “must be nonpartisan and a person of unquestionable integrity”.
Is Lauretta Onochie any of these? “Madam due process,” says she stands for justice and fairness, and thus no one has anything to fear.
There are indications that the President might resend Onochie’s name to the National Assembly again. If he does, it will not be the first time that a sitting President will insist on the confirmation of a nominee’s appointment.
Nigerians will be watching to observe if the Senate can demonstrate similar patriotism and institutional courage as displayed during the last screening.