Senate confirms five nominees as INEC Commissioners, rejects Lauretta Onochie

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Five nominees as Commissioners for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were on Tuesday confirmed by the Senate. 

The Senate rejected Ms Lauretta Onochie (Delta) and stepped down that of Professor Sani Muhammad Adam (North Central) for further investigation by the committee.

Ezrel Tabiowo, Special Assistant on Press to President of the Senate disclosed this in a statement obtained by Newstalkng.

Those confirmed include Professor Abdullahi Abdu Zuru (North-West), Professor Muhammad Sani Kallah (Katsina), Professor Kunle Cornelius Ajayi (Ekiti), Dr. Baba Bila (North-East), and Saidu Babura Ahmad (Jigawa).

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano South), in his presentation, said the Committee received several petitions against the nominations of Ms. Onochie and Prof. Adam.

He disclosed that the petitions against Onochie were based on her involvement in politics and alleged membership of a political party.

Senator Gaya further explained that her nomination violated the Federal Character Principle as there is already a serving National Electoral Commissioner from Delta State, Barr. Mary Agbamuche-Mbu who was screened and confirmed by the 8th Senate.

“In the case of Ms. Lauretta Onochie’s, having studied her curriculum vitae and other relevant documents, followed by exhaustive interaction around the petitions against her nomination which she responded to accordingly, including attesting that she is not a registered member of any political party”, Gaya said.

According to the lawmaker, the Committee bound by the provisions of Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amendment) on Federal Character Principle, refused to recommend Onochie for confirmation.

“Therefore, based on the provisions of Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended) on Federal Character Principle as earlier stated, and in order for the Committee and the Senate to achieve fairness to other states and political zones in the country, the committee is unable to recommend Ms. Lauretta Onochie for confirmation as a National Electoral Commissioner for the Independent National Electoral Commission”, he explained.

On the nomination against Prof. Adam, the committee recommended that his confirmation be stepped down pending further legislative action by the committee.

Accordingly, the Senate while confirming the five nominees, adopted the recommendations of the Committee by rejecting Onochie’s nomination and stepping down that of Professor Adam for further action.

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