The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room have rejected President Mohammed Buhari’s nomination of his aide Lauretta Onochie as a commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) both saying her nomination is an attempt to undermine the efforts to build a credible electoral process in Nigeria.
This reaction followed President Buhari’s request for the National Assembly to confirm Laurette Onochie as INEC National Commissioner representing Delta State which was read at the Senate plenary on Tuesday, October 13 by Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan.
The PDP reacted in a statement signed by Kola Ologbondiyan, its National Publicity Secretary, saying that the appointment of Lauretta Onochie, a card-carrying member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is a highly provocative assault on the nation’s constitution and democratic process.
Kola said the president’s public promise of leaving a legacy of credible elections was mere glib talks on electoral sanctity and clearly demonstrates that he has no plans whatsoever to leave a legacy of credible polls.
In his words,” Indeed, from Mr. President’s public promises, one would have thought that he was desirous of leaving a legacy of credible elections, having failed in all ramifications of governance.
“However, this nomination of his personal staff, Lauretta Onchie, as INEC national commissioner, supports the position of the PDP that his statements were mere glib talks on electoral sanctity and clearly demonstrates that he has no plans whatsoever to leave a legacy of credible polls.”
He added that the appointment is another shameful attempt to plant unscrupulous elements in INEC in order to corrupt and further desecrate the sanctity of the commission, undermine the electoral system and destabilize our democratic process ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“It is therefore surprising that having sworn to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mr. President is taking actions that are antithetical to the very constitution and democratic governance.
“These actions are deliberate attempts by President Buhari to inflame social tensions, undermine our constitution and desecrate the sanctity of our electoral process, rather than finding solutions to the myriads of problems pervading our country,” he said
Kola further stated the PDP will deploy every legitimate means possible in a democracy to stop the approval of this provocative nomination of Lauretta Onochie as INEC national commissioner.
Similarly, in a statement issued on Tuesday, the Convener of the Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo, has called on President Buhari to immediately withdraw her nomination, arguing that the presidential aide is a known partisan supporter of the President and his ruling party, the APC.
According to Clement, “Her nomination amounts to a major attempt at undermining efforts to build credibility for an improved electoral process in the country.”
While citing the 1999 constitution, he said paragraph 14 forbids a “partisan politician” as a member of the electoral body.
“Situation Room calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately withdraw her nomination. Should the president fail to withdraw this nomination the Nigerian Senate is hereby called upon to disregard her nomination without any consideration whatsoever,” he said