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Why Onochie was rejected as INEC commissioner -Senate

 The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday gave reasons for rejecting the nomination of the Personal Assistant to the President on New Media, Lauretta Onochie, as a National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Spononline reports that the Red Chamber also suspended the nomination of Prof. Sani Muhammad Adam (North Central) for further investigation by the committee.

The Senate, in a statement issued by the Special Assistant (Press) to President of the Senate, Ezrel Tabiowo, said Onochie’s nomination was rejected because of her partisanship and breach of the Federal Character Principle.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano South), was quoted as saying the committee also received several petitions against her nomination.

He explained the petitions bothered on her involvement in politics and alleged membership of a political party.

Gaya further said that her nomination violated the Federal Character Principle as there is already a serving National Electoral Commissioner from Delta State, Barrister Mary Agbamuche-Mbu, who was screened and confirmed by the Eighth 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,” he 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.

However, the Senate confirmed five other nominees following 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).

On the nomination against Prof. Sani Muhammad Adam, the committee recommended “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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