Confusion over Lauretta Onochie's nomination as INEC commissioner

Confusion over Lauretta Onochie's nomination as INEC commissioner

- Presidential aide, Lauretta Onochie's nomination as an INEC commissioner is reported to have hit a dead-end

- The Nigerian Senate was reported to have refused to confirm her appointment on the grounds that she is too APC-focused

- The upper chamber of legislature was said to have sent back a message to President Muhammadu Buhari to change her name

- But, Abu Sidiq Usman, a media aide to the President of the Nigerian Senate has countered the claims, saying deliberation on her appointment had yet to start

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The Nation claims hopes of Lauretta Onochie, President Buhari's aide on social media, joining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as a commissioner, may have been dashed.

The newspaper reported on Sunday, December 13 that senators on the committee screening candidates for the position of INEC commissioners agreed that the outspoken presidential aide was too partisan for the job.

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It added that although senators of the ruling party applauded her consistent backing of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the activities of the presidency, they admitted that an INEC commissioner was the wrong appointment for her.

The daily newspaper also quoted an unnamed senate source as saying that the outcry against Onochie's appointment also did not help her situation.

The senator said:

“We do not begrudge her for standing by her conviction. But in the light of…, she cannot be a National Commissioner for INEC. A nominee cannot profess bias for politics or any party.
“To avoid heating up the Senate and a likely conflict with the Presidency, we decided to ‘step down’ her confirmation."

But Abu Sidiq Usman, a Special Assistant to the President of the Nigerian Senate on New Media, said the account of The Nation was untrue.

He called it a false report and explained that the senate had yet to start deliberating on the matter of the nomination of the new INEC commissioners, of which Onochie is one.

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Sharing his information on Twitter, Usman went on to explain the legislative process, which he said, has yet to begin.

He tweeted: reported in October that President Buhari nominated Onochie for screening and confirmation as a national commissioner of INEC in her home state, Delta.

Senate president, Ahmad Lawan had read Buhari’s letter of request at plenary on Tuesday, October 13.

Senate rejects Lauretta Onochie as INEC commissioner
The senate said Lauretta Onochie (right) is so pro-APC in her stand that she cannot work at INEC. Photo credit: @Laurestar
Source: Twitter

The president also nominated Professor Mohammed Sani representing Katsina; Professor Kunle Ajayi representing Ekiti state and Seidu Ahmed representing Jigawa state for confirmation as national commissioners of INEC.

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Onochie's nomination has been roundly condemned by opposition federal lawmakers, popular human rights lawyer Femi Falana and PDP as well as Sokoto state governor among others.

The APC, on its part, hailed the presidential aide's nomination.

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The ruling party frowned at the criticisms over the president's action, saying:

“It has been subject to rash, subjective, misplaced and selective criticism by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some interest groups.”

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