…maintain call for Onochie’s rejection
By Mike Oboh
Civil Society Group Situation Room has tasked the federal government on the need to appoint credible persons as INEC commissioners as the tenure of most of them expires this year just as it once again called on the Senate to reject the nomination of Lauretta Onochie, Senior Special Adviser to President Buhari, nomination as INEC commissioner.
The convener of the Civil group Situation Room, Ene Obi made the declaration on Thursday while speaking to newsmen in Abuja.
Obi said the government should start considering people for appointment as INEC commissioners as the tenure of most of them in the service runs to and end this year.
“Situation Room wishes to remind the federal government of the State Resident Electoral Commissioners of INEC whose tenure runs out at the end of the year, to begin to think of nomination of persons within the set criteria.
“We also call on the senate to reaffirm the integrity and independence of Nigeria Electoral System by rejecting the nomination of Mrs Lauretta Onochie as INEC national commissioner,” Obi said.
The group said that if important consideration is fairness and justice to all contending parties, Onochie has shown that she does not have the qualities and capacity to be accommodating to all, hence Nigerians of all tendencies have opposed her appointment as she will dent the country’s electoral process and democracy.
Obi said as a political appointee and staff of the incumbent President , Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress, APC, her utterance, statements, demeanor and carriage has always conveyed and communicated political bias and partisanship in support of the ruling party, though the group do not criticize her royal to her party , they highlighted that these traits are not suited for the position of a non partisan agency.
“Section 156(1) of the constitution makes it mandatory that an appointee at INEC shall not be a member of a political party. It is immaterial that such a person in anticipation for appointment quickly resigned his or her membership of a political party.
“Item F, paragraph 14 of the third schedule of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria forbids a partisan politician as a member of INEC-a body charged under the constitution to unbiasedly conduct a free and fair election, the claim of partisanship is glaring and has been exhibited orally and in writing,” the civil group said.
The convener said Onochie’s nomination amount to a major attempt at undermining the efforts to build credibility for an improved electoral process in the county hence it is important to note that the composition of INEC is transparently non partisan and independent of partisan political bias.