15 July 2021 by Julian Osamoto
A coalition of 70 Groups under the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, has signed a statement appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari not to renominate Ms Lauretta Onochie to the Senate for confirmation as a National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
According to the group, their plea to President Buhari was based on what transpired in the case of the former Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, where President Buhari persistently forwarded Magu’s name to the Senate for confirmation, even after his nomination was rejected twice.
At a news conference in Abuja, the conveners of the Situation Room Mrs Ene Obi, Asma’u Joda and James Ugochukwu, commended the Senate for declining Onochie’s nomination, advising President Buhari to chose another non-partisan woman as her replacement.
“It is pertinent to reiterate that Item F, paragraph 14 of the third schedule to the 1999 Nigerian Constitution stipulates non-partisanship as one of the criteria for the appointment of a person as a National Commissioner of INEC.
“Therefore, it is unconstitutional for anybody in partisan politics to be in INEC and this should be taken into consideration with respect to subsequent nominations for positions at the Electoral Commission”.
“Situation Room continues to stand by this position as stipulated by law and enjoined the National Assembly and institutions of government to always uphold the tenets of democracy in the discharge of their duties and act in the interest of the Nigerian people at all times”.
Situation Room also reiterated the need for the National Assembly to ensure the inclusion of electronic voting and transmission of election results in the Electoral Bill, 2021.
They however called on the 10th Assembly to pass the Electoral Bill and transmit same to the President for assent.