President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination of his Senior Special Assistant, Lauretta Onochie as a National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) representing the South-South, has raised concerns. The President in a letter to the Nigerian Senate, dated October 12, sought confirmation of the appointment of Onochie and three others as INEC Commissioners. Lauretta Onochie is a known partisan supporter of the President and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). In addition, she has built a reputation for using vile and uncouth language in addressing citizens on social media platforms, a conduct that denigrates on the office she occupies. She is deemed not to meet the criteria set out for the said appointment in Item F, paragraph 14(2) of the third schedule to the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended), which states that: “A member of the Commission shall be non-partisan and a person of unquestionable integrity.” INEC, as the electoral umpire, is expected to be independent and non-partisan in order to deliver free, fair and credible elections to Nigerians.
The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has called on President Buhari to withdraw the nomination and urged the Senate to disregard her nomination without consideration, in the event that he fails to do so. Other concerned groups and citizens have expressed shock over her nomination and are equally prevailing on the President to withdraw same.