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Senate rejects Onochie’s nomination as INEC commissioner, gives reasons

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By Sunday Elom N

The Nigerian Senate yesterday refused to confirm the special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on new media, Mrs. Lauretta Onochie as commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

Onochie who hails from Delta state was nominated by President Buhari to be the next INEC commissioner; however, many Nigerians raised alarm against her nomination, saying the electoral body would lose credibility. Hence, her rejection by the senate has elicited celebration across the country.

Meanwhile, there is wide belief that the senate surrendered to pressure from nigerians, civil society organisations and the main opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, but the upper legislative chamber said that her rejection was based on federal character principle and the need to adhere strictly to the Act.

The senate further said that she is from Delta and the state already had May Agbamuche Mbu who is the chairman, legal services of INEC. 

The decision of the senate followed the consideration of the Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission, led by Senator Kabiru Gaya, APC, Kano South.

Gaya who is the chairman of the committee on the screening of the INEC nominees while presenting the report of the screening of the nominees, told the senate that it was against the federal character principle to have two persons from the same state as INEC national commissioner.

In a similar development, the senate also turned down the confirmation of Prof. Sani Adam (North-Central) for further legislative work.

However, the house confirmed five other nominees, including Prof. Muhammad Sani Kallah, (Katsina), Prof. Kunle Ajayi (Ekiti), Saidu Ahmad (Jigawa), Dr Baba Bila (North-East) and Prof. Abdullahi Zuru (North-West).

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