Senate rejects Onochie as INEC Commissioner

…PDP, others hail Senate snub

The Senate on Tuesday rejected the nomination of Ms Lauretta Onochie as a National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Senate said its action was based on abuse of Federal Character principle, which states that every part of the country must be represented.

Delta State, where Onochie hails from, has a serving national commissioner in INEC.

The Senate also stepped down the nomination of Professor Sani Mohammad Adam (North Central) to allow for further legislative action.

This followed the consideration of the report of Senate Committee on INEC, presented by the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Kabiru Gaya.

Gaya said the Committee rejected the nomination of Onochie because there is already a National Commissioner of INEC, Mrs May Agbamuche, representing Delta State in the Commission.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Northern Youths Council of Nigeria (NYCN) and the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) have applauded the rejection of Lauretta Onochie, as an INEC commissioner.

The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan said the rejection is a victory for democracy and triumph of the people over attempt by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to corrupt INEC ahead of the 2023 polls.

The PDP said the rejection of Onochie has saved the country from a serious crisis and salvaged INEC and the entire Nigerian electoral process.

“The party asserts that Onochie’s vexatious nomination, in total affront to paragraph 14 of the 3rd schedule of the 1999 Constitution was a very dangerous machination by the Buhari-led APC Presidency against our electoral process, in the attempt to subvert the will of the people in the 2023 elections.

“The APC, in spite of its shenanigans, is aware that it will have difficulties winning election at any level in a free, fair and credible election and as such it is determined to rig every process ahead of the 2023 elections.

“Our party, therefore, commends Nigerians including civil society organisations, the media as well as other political parties, for joining forces with the PDP in fighting for the sanctity of our electoral process by resisting Onochie’s nomination.

“The stiff resistance displayed by Nigerians across board, in repelling this vicious attempt to hijack and pollute the electoral commission, underscores their collective and unwavering determination to resist and kick out the APC in 2023, despite its shenanigans,” the PDP stated.

The CTA, in a statement by its Executive Director, Faith Nwadishi, said Onochie’s rejection would augur well for Nigeria’s democracy.

“Madam Onochie’s presence in INEC would have in great measures impinged on the integrity of the Electoral Management Board and put to question the integrity of the electoral process.

“The Senate has done the needful by listening to the voice of the people even though pressured by Nigerians to be accountable to the people and represent the interest of the people.

“CTA calls on CSOs and Nigerians to still be vigilant and look forward to the National Assembly passing an Electoral Bill that will have electronic transmission of results by INEC and addresses all other issues raised by Nigerians. Citizen’s power keeps hope alive for our democracy.”

In its reaction, NYCN said the rejection is a victory for democracy and confirmation of the independence of the National Assembly.

The group, through its president, Isah Abubakar, cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari’s advisers against such controversial nominations to avoid a repeat of what could be described as a coup against the Nigeria Constitution.

“We admonish the leaders of the National Assembly to continue to put Nigeria’s democracy first above party/individual sentiments,” he said.

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