Why Lauretta Onochie’s Nomination Is Causing Much Raucous

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While the struggle for justice was ongoing nationwide yesterday, President Mohammed Buhari forwarded the name of his special assistant on social media, Lauretta Onochie, as a national commissioner for the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC). The other names forwarded were Mohammed Sani (Katsina), Kunle Ajayi (Ekiti) and Seidu Ahmed (Jigawa). Recently, she hit out at Nigerian popstar, Wizkid, for calling the president an “old man.”

What’s wrong with her nomination?

The Nigerian civil society group, Situation Room, has demanded the president withdraw the nomination of Lauretta Onochie stating it was an attempt to weaken the efforts to build a credible electoral process in Nigeria. The following points were noted by the interim chairperson of the Alliance on Surviving Covid-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), Femi Falana (S.A.N)

  • In appointing the members of the INEC the President is required to consult with the Council of State under section 154 (3) of the Constitution.
  • Paragraph B of Part 1 of the 3rd Schedule to the Constitution provides that the Council of State shall have the power to advise the President in the exercise of his powers concerning (iv) the Independent National Electoral Commission including the appointment of the members of the Commission.
  • Under section 154 (1) of the Constitution, the appointment of the members of the Independent National Electoral Commission shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate.
  • Paragraph 14 of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution as amended by Section 30, Act No 1 of 2010, a member of the Independent National Electoral Commission shall be non-partisan.
  • From the foregoing, it is crystal clear that a card-carrying member of a registered political party or a well-known supporter of a particular political party is constitutionally disqualified from the membership of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
  • As an unrepentant member of the ruling party, Mrs. Loretta Onochie has consistently attacked members of other political parties.

The main issues center around her background in partisan politics which breed partiality and flouting of provisions made by the constitution by the president.

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