President Muhammadu Buhari has been provided reasons to remove the name of his special assistant on social media, Lauretta Onochie from the list of Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Frontline human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, listed reasons the appointment of Onochie as INEC Commissioner should not stand.
Falana, in a statement he made available to reporters on Tuesday, pointed out that Onochie, as a card-carrying member of the ruling party, or any other registered political party, was not qualified for such a role.
Recall that the controversial presidential aide, who hails from Delta State, was named alongside three others for confirmation by the Nigerian Senate in line with the laws that set up the electoral umpire.
Part of the letter was read by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan on Tuesday at the plenary. And Falana, looking at the criteria provided in the constitution to determine who was fit for the position, faulted the nomination of Onochie, who according to him, has been active in attacking members of the opposition.
Falana pointed out that as a Commissioner of INEC, one must not be partisan, a rule which he says the presidential aide was not compliant with.
He said, “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 Senate to the following provisions of the constitution.”
The senior lawyer noted that it is required of Buhari or any other President to consult with the council of states before appointing the members of the electoral commission pursuant to section 154 (3) of the constitution;
“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,” said the Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
“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.
“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,’” he said.