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Lauretta Onochie Not Qualified To Be INEC Commissioner, Says Falana-led Group

The Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond has faulted the appointment of Lauretta Onochie, an aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, as a commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Femi Falana, interim chairperson of the coalition, in a statement on Tuesday said a card-carrying member of a registered political party was not fit for such a role.

Falana listed some criteria provided in the constitution to determine who was fit for the position.

Femi Falana, SAN.

One of the criteria included the fact that members must not be partisan, a rule which he says Onochie was not compliant with.

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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.

“In appointing the members of the INEC, the President is required to consult with the Council of State 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.

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“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”.

“From the foregoing, it is crystal clear that a card carrying member of a registered political party or a well-known supporter of a particular political party is constitutionally disqualified from the membership of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

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“As an unrepentant member of the ruling party, Mrs Loretta Onochie, has consistently attacked members of other political parties. To that extent, she is partisan and therefore not qualified to be a member of the Independent National Electoral Commission.”

President Buhari had on Tuesday requested that the Senate confirm Onochie together with Mohammed Sani (Katsina), Kunle Ajayi (Ekiti) and Seidu Ahmed (Jigawa) as INEC commissioners.

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SaharaReporters, New York

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