By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
A pro-democracy and human rights group, Concerned Nigerians group, Tuesday, hailed Senate for rejecting nomination of Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, as National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
This was contained in a statement signed by the spokesperson, CN, Theophilus Abuh Agada, where the group described the action of the Senate as extraordinary courage in rejecting Onochie’s nomination.
The statement reads in part, “We commend the Nigerian senate for showing extraordinary courage in rejecting the nomination of Onochie as INEC commissioner. INEC is an independent institution and the nomination of Onochie negates the principle upon which the body was established.
“Onochie is not just partisan, she has proven over time to be a paid hack of the ruling party. Her demonstrable actions in defending the president and politicians elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressive Congress will affect her sense of judgment in discharging her duties as an INEC commissioner.
The group said the nomination remains an aberration, because she is a member of the ruling All Progressive Congress and special assistant to the president as INEC, and added that is it is a mockery the nation’s democracy.
According to the statement, an INEC commissioner ought to be someone with no questionable character but one with proven integrity.
Meanwhile, the group also called for the arrest of Onochie, “Finally, we call on the Inspector General of Police to begin immediate prosecution of Lauretta Onochie for brazenly lying under oath.”
However, the group called on Buhari to assent to the amended Electoral Bill, saying it will strengthen the nation’s electoral process and ensure transparency, credibility in the conduct of elections.
“If the President means well for Nigeria and he is concerned about the quality of leaders elected into different offices, he should sign the amended electoral bill rather than appointing an aide questionable integrity that will help him and his party rig elections.
“In the same vein, we call on the National Assembly not to reverse the gains we have made in our electoral process by banning the results of the electronic transmission.
“The ruling All Progressives Congress succeeded in 2015 in assuming power because of the innovative introduction of the card reader.
“The National Assembly must continue to support innovative ideas by INEC which will help the commission conduct free, credible and transparent elections.”