PDP Faults Buhari Over Nomination of APC Member, Lauretta Onochie As INEC National Commissioner.
The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is not comfortable with the nomination of Miss Lauretta Onochie, the Special Assistant on Social Media to President Mohammadu Buhari, for the sensitive position of National Commissioner in the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, saying that the nomination is ominous, violent assault on Nigerian Constitution and democracy.
PDP in a statement by Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, the party’s national publicity secretary noted that Onochie is a card carrying and financial member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and therefore cannot be appointed as one of INEC’s national Commissioners for the fact that by virtue of her absolute loyalty to her party, APC, she will certainly not be neutral in the discharge of her assigned responsibilities, as enshrined the constitution and other subsidiary enactments.
PDP further asserted that neutrality, impartiality, equity and transparency are the four pillars holding the structures of INEC and her functions, and by all standards the commission is expected at all times to be absolutely independent as the electoral umpire for the country.
It added that as a die-hard supporter of President Buhari and a card carrying member of APC, Onochie’s nomination fractured the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999, as amended, which specifically States that the commission and its staff including National Commissioners shall be apolitical and must be seen to be neutral so as to guarantee the overall independent of the commission.
It follows that the nomination of a core Buharist and diehard loyalist of APC, in the person of Miss Lauretta Onochie, will run fowl of the constitution and subsequently dash the fragile confidence Nigerians repose on INEC as unbiased electoral umpire and at the same time make a mockery of Mr President’s recent promises wherein he assured Nigerians of his strong desire to ensure that INEC remained independent, transparent and reliable in the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in the country.
According to PDP, President Buhari must not now or in the future play on the collective intelligence of Nigerians by nominating or appointing members of his party or any other party for that matter, to serve in the commission, and to with immediate effect withdraw the nomination of Onochie as INEC National Commissioner and to replace her with another qualified, fit and acceptable Deltan who must be apolitical and not directly or indirectly affiliated to any political party in Nigeria.
“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 destabilize 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,” the statement added.