A Group under the aegis of the Alliance on surviving COVID-19 and Beyond has expressed concern regarding the nomination of Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Social Media, Ms. Lauretta Onochie, as INEC Commissioner representing South-South.

In a statement made available to TheNigeriaLawyer (TNL) signed by its Interim Chairman, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, the Group said Lauretta is partisan and therefore her nomination goes contrary to the provisions of the constitution which prohibits nomination of partisan people for the office

The Statement reads;

“MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS OF POLITICAL PARTIES ARE NOT QUALIFIED TO BE INEC COMMISSIONERS.

In view of the desire of President Muhammadu Buhari to fill some vacancies in the Independent National Electoral Commission it has become pertinent to draw the attention of the Council of State and the Senate to the following provisions of the Constitution: 

1. In appointing the members of the INEC the President is required to consult with the Council of State pursuant to section 154 (3)  of the Constitution;

2. Paragraph B of Part 1 of the 3rd Schedule to the Constitution provides that “The Council of State shall have power to advise the President in the exercise of his powers with respect to  (iv) the Independent National Electoral Commission including the appointment of the members of the Commission.

 3. Pursuant to section 154 (1) of the Constitution, the appointment of the members of the Independent National Electoral Commission shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate;

4. Paragraph 14 of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution as amended by Section 30, Act No 1 of 2010,  a member of the Independent National Electoral Commission “shall be non-partisan”.

From the foregoing, it is crystal clear that a card-carrying member of a registered political party or a well-known supporter of a particular political party is constitutionally disqualified from the membership of the Independent National Electoral Commission. As an unrepentant member of the ruling party Mrs Loretta Onochie has consistently attacked members of other political parties. To that extent, she is partisan and therefore not qualified to be a member of the Independent National Electoral Commission.”

The group has its National Headquarters at Iva Valley Books, Second Floor, Labour House, CBD Abuja, Nigeria.

Written By Obioma Ezenwobodo Esq

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