Lagos based Lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, has faulted the appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari of his aide as a National Commissioner for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, describing it as unconstitutional.
Recall that Buhari had forwarded to the Senate for Screening and subsequent confirmation of his Special Assistant, Social Media, Lauretta Onochie as a National Commissioner for INEC.
Falana, who is also the Interim Chairman, Alliance on Surviving COVID 19 and Beyond, ASCAB, in a statement he personally signed on Tuesday, stated, “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 the 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.
“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 INEC “shall be non-partisan.”
Falana maintained that “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 INEC.
“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 INEC.”