Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) has explained why the Red Chamber of the National Assembly dumped President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide, Lauretta Onochie, as an electoral umpire in Nigeria.
President Buhari repeatedly nominated his Senior Special Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie for a top position in Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
According to PLAC, the Senate stepped down her nomination following public backlash and petitions against her, from concerned citizens and groups on the basis of her membership of a political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
President Buhari has however, nominated five persons for appointment as National Commissioners of INEC and one person for the position of Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), to replace INEC Commissioners whose tenures have come to an end.
This was disclosed in a letter read on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, 14th December. The nominees who have been presented to the Senate for confirmation are as follows: Mallam Mohammed Haruna (Niger State) – National Commissioner North Central.
Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu (Delta State) – National Commissioner South South, Sam Olugbadebo Olumekun (Ondo State) – National Commissioner South West, and Okeagbu Kenneth Nnamdi (Abia State) – National Commissioner South East
Others are Maj. Gen. A.B Alkali (Rtd) (Adamawa State) – National Commissioner North East, Prof. Rada H. Gumus (Bayelsa State) – National Commissioner South South, and Mr. Olaniyi Olaleye Ijalaye (Ondo State) – Resident Electoral Commissioner South West
Of the five National Commissioners nominated, two are re-nominations – Mohammed Haruna and May Agbamuche-Mbu. National Commissioner nominee from the South East, Okeagbu Kenneth Nnamdi is presently Director of Procurement at INEC’s headquarters.
The National Commissioner nominee from the South West, Sam Olugbadebo Olumekun is currently the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Lagos State.
The Senate is required under section 154 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution to screen the nomination of persons to the positions of INEC National Commissioners and Resident Electoral Commissioners. It is expected that nomination hearings by the Senate will be scheduled early in the new year.
PLAC says President Buhari swore in five INEC National Commissioners in September and October 2021, who had been cleared by the Senate earlier in the year.