By Nseobong Okon-Ekong
Leading election monitoring group, Yiaga Africa has described the Senate’s rejection of Ms. Lauretta Onochie who was nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari as National Commissioner of the the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as victory for democracy on many fronts.
Mr. Samson Itodo, Executive Director of Yiaga who spoke with THISDAY on the phone said, “First, it is a demonstration of citizens’ power. Citizens power compelled the legislators to listen. The nomination of Lauretta Onochie was wrong ab initio. It was an aberration of the constitution. It was a demand to the legislators to stick with the provision of the Constitution which clearly forbids nomination of anyone who is partisan as an INEC Commissioner. Onochie is a self-confessed member of a political party and this was definitely going to undermine the integrity of the 2023 national elections.
“On the other hand, the Civil Socoety instituted a case in court on the Onochie matter. That case is coming up on Thursday. There is a lacuna in the constitution that needs to be addressed. The constitution needs to state the number of years that a person would resign from partisan politics before he is deemed fit to participate in electionmanagement. That was one of the things they were going to exploit for Onochie by saying she had rescinded her membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC). That gap within the constitution should be addressed.
We welcome the Senate’s rejection of Onochie. What the President needs to do now is to nominate another person of impeccable character. The person must have no partisan leaning. We plead with the President that this new nominee must be a woman. Onochie should not be substituted with a man.”