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Senate rejects Lauretta Onochie’s nomination as INEC commissioner

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The Senate, on Tuesday, rejected the nomination of Lauretta Onochie as a National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Chairman of the Committee, Kabiru Gaya, in his report, said Onochie did not satisfy the provisions of the Federal Character Principles.

According to the report, Lauretta Onochie, cannot be a commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for now.

This is because there is currently no vacancy for Delta State (where she hails from) as a National Commissioner, Chairperson of the committee, Kabiru Gaya, who presented the report of the vetting done on Ms Onochie’s nomination, said. The committee therefore recommended that the presidential aide’s appointment be rejected.

Mr Gaya said she was disqualified based on federal character principles as there is currently a serving commissioner from Delta State, where she hails from.

By nominating Ms Onochie, the president committed another blunder in addition to his disregard for the Nigerian Constititution which forbids him from nominating partisan individuals for such a position. The president committed a similar blunder in the past when he appointed dead people to boards of federal parastatals.

Section 14(1)(a&b) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution as amended stipulates that “the…Commission (INEC) shall comprise the following members: a). a chairman, who shall be the Chief Electoral Commissioner; b). twelve other members to be known as National Electoral Commissioners.”

That means that two national commissioners must be drawn from each of the country’s six geopolitical zones.

The Senate at the committee of the whole subsequently voted against her nomination.

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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