The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday kicked against the nomination of Lauretta Onochie, President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Assistant on New Media, as a National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), vowing to employ every legal means to frustrate her confirmation by the Senate.
Describing the nomination as a highly insensitive and provocative assault on the democratic process, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP’s spokesman said at a briefing in Abuja that his party would ensure that appointment is rejected by the House.
Describing Onochie as a card carrying member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Ologbondiyan said with the appointment, President Buhari has left no one in doubt that he did not care about leaving behind a legacy of credible elections.
He said further: “Indeed, from Mr. President’s public promises, one would have thought that he was desirous of leaving a legacy of credible elections, having failed in all ramifications of governance.
“However, this nomination of his personal staff, Lauretta Onchie, as INEC national commissioner, supports the position of the PDP that his statements were mere glib talks on electoral sanctity and clearly demonstrates that he has no plans whatsoever to leave a legacy of credible polls.
“This ugly development is another shameful attempt to plant unscrupulous elements in INEC in order to corrupt and further desecrate the sanctity of the commission, undermine our electoral system and destabilise our democratic process ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“We had hoped that, as Mr. President had professed in the past, he is truly running his second and final term in office. If that were so, then Lauretta Onochie’s nomination as INEC national commissioner clearly points to a totally different direction”.
“Moreover, being a card-carrying member of the APC as records show (from Ward 5 Onicha Olona, Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta state), Onochie’s nomination is in clear violation of paragraph 14 of the 3rd schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which forbids a person involved in partisan politics to hold office as a member of INEC.
“It is therefore surprising that having sworn to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mr. President is taking actions that are antithetical to the very constitution and democratic governance.
“These actions are deliberate attempts by President Buhari to inflame social tensions, undermine our constitution and desecrate the sanctity of our electoral process, rather than finding solutions to the myriads of problems pervading our country.
“On a final note, the PDP, standing shoulder to shoulder with Nigerians, will deploy every legitimate means possible in a democracy to stop the approval of this provocative nomination of Lauretta Onochie as INEC national commissioner,” the PDP said.