The Nigerian Senate has rejected the controversial nomination of Lauretta Onochie, a staunch supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari and a member of the ruling party All Progressives Congress, as a National Commissioner of the INEC.
Chairman of the Committee, Kabiru Gaya, in his report to the Red Chamber on Tuesday said Onochie did not meet the provisions of the constitution to be confirmed as INEC commissioner.
He said her nomination breaches Federal Character principles, citing Section 14 (1) 3 of the Constitution.
Somebody was already a Commissioner from her zone, and the law remains clear about that, the report stated.
The Senate added later in a statement by Ezrel Tabiowo, Special Assistant (Press) to President of the Senate, that her nomination was also rejected due to her partisanship.
The statement quoted Chairman of the Committee, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano South), as saying that the committee also received several petitions against the nomination of Onochie.
The petitions against her were as a result of her involvement in politics and being a member of a political party.
The statement further said that her nomination violated the Federal Character Principle as there is already a serving National Electoral Commissioner from Delta State, Barr. Mary Agbamuche-Mbu who was screened and confirmed by the 8th Senate.
“In the case of Ms. Lauretta Onochie’s, having 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”, Gaya said.
He added that the Committee was bound by the provisions of Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amendment) on Federal Character Principle, therefore it refused to recommend Onochie for confirmation.
But the Senate confirmed five other nominees recommended by the Senate Committee on INEC.
However it suspended the confirmation of the nomination of Prof. Sani Muhammad Adam (North Central) for further investigation by the committee.
Those confirmed include Professor Abdullahi Abdu Zuru (North-West), Prof. Muhammad Sani Kallah (Katsina), Prof. Kunle Cornelius Ajayi (Ekiti), Dr. Baba Bila (North-East), and Saidu Babura Ahmad (Jigawa).