PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari’s controversial spokeswoman Lauretta Onochie has had her bid to be appointed as an electoral commissioner rejected after the senate refused to endorse her for the position.
Regarded as the president’s rottweiller, Ms Onochie has served as the presidency’s attack dog since 2015, taking on all political opponents. Earlier this month, her nomination to become a commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) raised eyebrows as her ability to be impartial was questioned.
After a hectic three day hearing, the senate has finally declined to approve Ms Onochie after a report by its committee on Inec submitted by its chairman Senator Kabir Gaya said her nomination breaches federal character principles. Senator Gaya cited Section 14 (1) 3 of the constitution, stating that somebody was already a commissioner from her geo-political zone and the law remains clear about that.
According to Senator Gaya, there is currently a serving commissioner from Delta State, where she hails from. Ms Onochie, currently the personal assistant to the president on new media, was nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2020 as an Inec commissioner.
Many political opponents had called on the president to withdraw the nomination on grounds that Ms Onochie is partisan and so it would be undemocratic for her to be appointed into such an office. Some civil society organisations also wrote petitions to the senate opposing Ms Onochie’s nomination.
Despite the criticisms, the senate went ahead to screen her last Thursday. During the screening exercise, Ms Onochie described herself as madam due process, telling the senate panel that she quit politics in 2019 and that she is no longer partisan.
Ms Onochie said: “I have seen the petitions against me but I stand for justice and fairness, thus nobody has anything to fear. I am madam due process and this is the reason behind my attacks because I follow the law and due process.”