By Dirisu Yakubu
Civil rights advocacy group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, Tuesday rejected Lauretta Onochie’s nomination as national commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Onochie, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Media, yesterday got the nod of her principal for the INEC top job but HURIWA kicked, accusing the Presidential aide as a peddler of fake news.
In a statement signed its national convener, Emmanuel Onwubiko, the group said
“Lauretta Onochie is known on social media for peddling fake news and pictures as some of her claims have been proven to be false including tweeting false pictures to praise the Buhari administration.”
This is even as the group faulted the nomination on alleged partisanship of the nominee, saying “Luaretta Onochie is a fanatical member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and so by her appointment into a commission tasked with the mandate to conduct elections in Nigeria wherein the All Progressives Congress will participate, President Buhari is setting the stage for a very huge political crisis, which is capable of derailing our democratic process.”
The statement continued: “One of the factors that have compromised the credibility of elections in Nigeria is said to be the lack of structural independence of INEC. This was one of the main issues taken up by the Electoral Reform Committee in 2007.
“Among the recommendations that the Committee made was the necessity for guaranteeing the independence of INEC, both through the way that the Commission is funded and through the appointment process for its members.”
HURIWA also premised its rejection of Onochie’s nomination on grounds of “constitutional violations” in appointments since the assumption of office by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“It’s on record that since the inception of the current administration; Nigerians have witnessed serial constitutional violations in appointments. This appointment constitutes a direct violence against the independency of INEC and Nigerians should not in any way accept it.
“We urge the Senate to reject this appointment if they are real democrats or Nigerians may pour out on the streets to protest this brazen illegality to demolish constitutional democracy through insider political compromises,” it added.