Ajibola Basiru, spokesman of the upper legislative chamber, says Nigerians should petition the senate if they think Lauretta Onochie, a presidential aide, is not qualified to be a national commissioner at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Senate President Ahmad Lawan, on Wednesday, directed the committee on INEC to screen Onochie and some other nominees.

Lawan’s directive to the committee came eight months after a request by President Muhammadu Buhari — the president had sent the request to the senate in October 2020.

Speaking with reporters at the national assembly, Basiru said the fact that the nomination was referred to a committee does not mean she will automatically be confirmed.

“The fact that a matter is referred to a committee does not mean that the committee will affirm to such confirmation, and I agree, in the past, there have been instances where references have been made to committees, and they were returned unconfirmed or stepped down by the committee,” he said.

“I would rather say that we keep the gunpowder till the committee comes up with recommendations.

“As Nigerians, if you feel she is not qualified, you are entitled to file a petition before the committee.

“I challenge Nigerians who strongly believe that the nomination is inappropriate to approach the committee and challenge it in the exercise to see that the country is governed according to the law.”

Basiru said the senate will address the suspension of Twitter, a microblogging platform, “at the appropriate time”.

“As a lawyer, I am of the opinion that whatever the basics of rule of law, is that there will be legal basis for legislative and executive actions,” he said.

“So, I’m not here to talk about that. But if the senate considers it, we will be able to have a front. We will address it at the appropriate time.”

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