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JUST IN (UPDATE): Senate rejects Lauretta Onochie as INEC National Commissioner, confirms five others

*Steps down Prof. Sani Muhammad Adam’s confirmation

The Senate has rejected the nomination of President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide, Lauretta Onochie as Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) National Commissioner.

Onochie’s nomination as INEC National Commissioner was rejected during the Tuesday plenary session of the Senate.

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

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

However, the Senate did confirm the appointment of other five nominees as INEC Commissioners while it stepped down that of Prof. Sani Muhammad Adam (North Central) for further investigation by the committee.

The confirmation of the nominees followed the consideration of a report by the Senate Committee on INEC.

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).

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano South), in his presentation, said the Committee received several petitions against the nominations of Ms. Lauretta Onochie and Professor Sani Muhammad Adam.

He disclosed that the petitions against Lauretta Onochie were against the backdrop that her involvement in politics and alleged membership of a political party.

He explained further 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.

According to the lawmaker, the Committee bound by the provisions of Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amendment) on Federal Character Principle, refused to recommend Onochie for confirmation.

“Therefore, based on the provisions of Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended) on Federal Character Principle as earlier stated, and in order for the Committee and the Senate to achieve fairness to other states and political zones in the country, the committee is unable to recommend Ms. Lauretta Onochie for confirmation as a National Electoral Commissioner for the Independent National Electoral Commission,” he explained.

On the nomination against Prof. Sani Muhammad Adam, the committee recommended that his confirmation be stepped down pending further legislative action by the committee.

Accordingly, the Senate while confirming the five nominees, adopted the recommendations of the Committee by rejecting Onochie’s nomination and stepping down that of Professor Adam for further action.

 

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