Onochie, who is the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Social Media, was nominated by the President as the commission’s a national commissioner from the South-South. The nomination is awaiting Senate confirmation.
A Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), has described as insensitive the nomination of Ms Lauretta Onochie as a national commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
He said the nomination contravened the provisions of the constitution, and that the timing was also wrong.
The nomination has however been criticised by no fewer than 70 civil society organisations, some opposition parties, Senior Advocates of Nigeria and other interest groups.
Adegboruwa said, “Coming at this time of the #EndSARS protests and the mood of this nation, which calls for sober reflection and a lot of proper reasoning on the part of our leaders, it’s very insensitive to the feelings of the generality of Nigerians.
“And knowing the nature of the person in question, the position of INEC commissioner requires some elements of neutrality, maturity and a person who is able to be an unbiased arbiter in the handling of such a sensitive position. So, whosoever is known to be an ally of any political organisation or political officer holder should ordinarily not be allowed near that office.
“To that extent, the nomination of Lauretta Onochie by the President at this time is to generally provoke the sensibility of the people of Nigeria and it has portrayed him as uncaring. It’s like damning the people and challenging us to action, as it were.”
Adegboruwa enjoined the members of the Senate to call upon the President to withdraw the nomination. He added, “The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not allow anyone who has a partisan background to be nominated as a member of INEC. If there is proof that such nomination has been made, it is a ground to ask the court to reject it or the Senate not to confirm such nomination.”