The Senate on Tuesday rejected Lauretta Onochie’s nomination as an advisor to President Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) due to her partisanship and violation of the federal character principle.
In a statement titled, ‘Senate confirms five nominees as INEC Commissioners, rejects Lauretta Onochie’, by Ezrel Tabiowo, Special Assistant (Press) to President of the Senate, on Tuesday.
Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano South), the committee’s chairman, was reported in the statement as adding that the committee had received multiple petitions opposing Onochie’s nomination.
He revealed that the petitions against Lauretta Onochie stemmed from her political participation and purported membership in a political party.
He went on to say that her nomination violated the Federal Character Principle because the 8th Senate had already screened and confirmed a serving National Electoral Commissioner from Delta State, Barr. Mary Agbamuche-Mbu.
“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.
However, the Senate confirmed five other nominees followed the consideration of a report by the Senate Committee on INEC.
The Red Chamber also suspended the nomination of Prof. Sani Muhammad Adam (North Central) for further investigation by the committee.
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 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.”