Nigerian Senate may have suspended the screening and confirmation of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominees for appointment as Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Commissioners due to the inclusion of Ms. Lauretta Onochie, on the list.
Onochie, is the Special Assistant to the President on New Media, and has over years defended the All Progressives Congress-led government with a passion.
Aside Onochie who is from Delta State, other nominees on the President’s list were, Prof. Muhammad Sani Kallah (National Electoral Commissioner), Katsina; Prof. Kunle Cornelius Ajayi (National Electoral Commissioner), Ekiti; and Saidu Babura Ahmad (Resident Electoral Commissioner), Jigawa.
The Senate Minority caucus had in the past week faulted Onochie’s appointment while maintaining that Buhari’s action was a clear violation of the Nigerian constitution.
Following the objections by the senators, the Senate President Ahmad Lawan did not send the president’s official communication to the Committee on INEC saddled with the responsibility of screening the nominees before the Senate went on a three- week break on Tuesday.
Investigations however revealed that the Senate President decided not to forward the list of nominees following stiff opposition by a majority of senators opposed to Onochie’s nomination across party lines.
According to a senator who spoke on the issue, on condition of anonymity “The Senate President would have referred the nominees’ list to the INEC committee but had to halt the process when it was obvious that majority of us advised him to maintain status quo pending when Onochie’s replacement will be sent to the Senate.
“Onochie’s representative in the Senate, who is also a principal officer, expressed shock when the Senate President read the letter announcing her as one of the nominees.
“The Principal officer has mobilised his colleagues in the leadership to oppose Onochie’s nomination and the Senate President had no choice than to put the entire screening process on hold.”