By Joshua Williams
The Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, on Tuesday, kicked against the nomination of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Social Media, Ms Lauretta Onochie, as National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, representing the South-South.
The Situation Room which is a coalition of 70 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the country, maintained that the 1999 Constitution, as amended, forbade the appointment of a partisan politician as a member of INEC.
Stressing that Ms Onochie is a known partisan supporter of President Buhari and his ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, the CSOs, in a statement that was signed by its Convener, Mr Clement Nwankwo, called for an immediate withdrawal of her nomination, insisting that it amounted to a major attempt at undermining efforts to build credibility for an improved electoral process in the country.
Aside from urging the Senate to reject Ms Onochie in the event that her nomination is not withdrawn by President Buhari, the CSOs, also demanded a probe of others that were also nominated as INEC Commissioners.
The statement read: “TTheNigeria Civil Society Situation Room is concerned about the nomination of Ms. Lauretta Onochie, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Social Media as National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) representing the South-South.
“Ms Onochie is a known partisan supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari and his ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“Item F, paragraph 14 of the third schedule of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) forbids a partisan politician as a member of INEC – a body charged under the Constitution to unbiasedly conduct of free and fair elections.
“Her nomination amounts to a major attempt at undermining efforts to build credibility for an improved electoral process in the country.
“Situation Room calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately withdraw her nomination. Should the President fail to withdraw this nomination the Nigerian Senate is hereby called upon to disregard her nomination without any consideration whatsoever.
“Situation Room is also calling on the Nigerian Senate to investigate all of the other nominations by the President especially as there are concerns that some of these nominations may have been by self-serving interests.
“It is important for Nigeria that the composition of INEC is transparently non-partisan and independent of partisan political manipulation”, it added.