Senate panel begins screening of Lauretta Onochie as INEC commissioner nominee


The senate committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has commenced the screening of Lauretta Onochie, a presidential aide.


Onochie was nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari as an INEC commissioner.


In June, Senate President Ahmad Lawan directed the senate committee on INEC to screen Onochie — eight months after Buhari sent her name for confirmation.


The president sent his request for her confirmation in October 2020.


Many Nigerians condemned the nomination on the grounds that Onochie is partisan. She is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).


The presidential aide will be screened alongside Muhammad Kallah, Kunle Ajayi, Saidu Ahmad, Sani Adam and Baba Bila — all of whom were nominated by the president as INEC commissioners.


Owing to the outcry by many over Onochie’s nomination, Ajibola Basiru, senate spokesman, asked Nigerians to petition the upper legislative chamber if they think she is not qualified for the position.


On Tuesday, some CSOs filed a lawsuit against Buhari over the nomination of Onochie.


In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/604/2021, filed before a federal high court in Abuja,  the CSOs are asking the court to determine whether the president “can nominate a card-carrying member or members of his political party or any other political party in Nigeria, as a national commissioner or resident electoral commissioner for the independent national electoral commission”, contrary to sections 14 (2a), 14 (3), 14 (3b), 14 (4) and Section 154 (1) of the Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended in 2011).

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