Buhari is set to represent Onochie, but the PDP and Senators disagree on the rejection.
Despite the Senate’s rejection of Lauretta Onochie’s nomination as Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, the President reaffirmed his faith in her on Tuesday. According to a Presidency source, “the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari — who made the nomination — did not choose to withdraw it suggests that he still has faith in the process and Onochie’s candidature remains viable.” So far, he hasn’t lost faith in Onochie.”
The public was outraged by Onochie’s nomination due to her obvious partisanship and the fact that her appointment would have violated the federal character principle. Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano South), Chairman of the Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission, stated that the petitions against the Presidential aide were filed because of her involvement in politics and her membership in a political party. Gaya stated, “In the case of Ms. Lauretta Onochie, we studied her curriculum vitae and other relevant documents, followed by exhaustive interaction around the petitions against her nomination, which she responded to accordingly, including attesting that she is not a registered member of any political party.” Attempts to get a reaction from Mallam Garba Shehu, Special Assistant to the President for Media and Publicity, were useless. Calls to his cell phone were returned as unanswered. As of the time of reporting this report, he had not to respond to a text message given to him. Senators have distinguished themselves, according to Jega. In response to Onochie’s Senate rejection, a former INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, praised the Senate for rejecting her nomination. An overjoyed Jega told The PUNCH late Tuesday that the Senators had “distinguished themselves” by their actions. He stated, “The Senators had ‘distinguished’ themselves on this issue.” We are hopeful that they will perform better on the Electoral Bill 2021.
In a similar spirit, the Peoples Democratic Party applauded the Senate’s determination to listen to the voice of reason. Kola Ologbodinyan, National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, told The PUNCH, “It was a triumph for Nigerians, a victory for reason and morals in the interest of democracy.” “The reality remains that the All Progressives Congress is desperate to retain power at any cost. Allowing persons like Onochie into INEC would have jeopardized any election before the first ballot was cast.” In response, Yekini Nabena, a former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, disputed the PDP’s assertion. In a phone chat, he told one of our journalists that the opposition party was depressed because it was losing members “by the minute.” “We couldn’t approve the appointment of Onochie because she is from the same state as an INEC commissioner from Delta State, Mrs Agbamuche-Mbu, whose tenure is set to expire in December this year,” he explained. “Agbamuche-Mbu will continue to serve in INEC until December of this year. That is why we are unable to remove another candidate from the state.”
Gaya stated that before issuing its report, the committee considered various legal implications of the nominees’ confirmation or denial, as well as the mood of Nigerians. Also see “In the letter, President Buhari specifically mentioned her (Agbamuche-Mbu) state, Delta. “I was also present during her confirmation by the 8th Senate when two Delta senators, Messrs Ovie Omo-Agege and James Manager, stood up to congratulate the Senate on confirming her. “We also learned from previous Senate screenings that Agbamuche-Mbu was a Delta State nominee.” Gaya stated that the committee could not disqualify Onochie based on the records before it because she was a member of the APC. He stated, “Madam Onochie has stated that she is no longer a member of the APC.” “The law states that we can only disqualify a card-carrying member of a political party, and we cannot hold that against her because she denied her APC membership.” Gaya stated in his plenary report that the Committee received several petitions opposing Onochie and Adam’s nominations. The Senate had previously confirmed the appointment of five nominees as INEC National Commissioners. The upper chamber also deferred Prof. Sani Adam’s (North Central) confirmation for further investigation by the committee. Following the consideration of a report by the Gaya-led Senate Committee on INEC, the nominees were confirmed. Prof. Abdullahi Abdu Zuru (North-West), Prof. Muhammad Sani Kallah (Katsina), Prof. Kunle Cornelius Ajayi (Ekiti), Dr. Baba Bila (North-East), and Saidu Babura Ahmad are among those confirmed (Jigawa). However, Abba Moro, a PDP Senator from Benue State, insisted that the nominee would have been rejected regardless of the federal character principle. Moro stated this on Tuesday during a phone interview with one of our correspondents. He claimed that the Senate Committee on INEC gave her a pass.<p>