Femi Falana, Human Rights Lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) has kicked against the nomination of Buhari’s aide, Lauretta Onochie as Commissioner of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Delta state.
In a statement addressed to the Council of state and Senate, Falana noted that Onochie who is an unrepentant card-carrying member of All Progressives Congress (APC) is disqualified to be appointed in the Electoral Commission.
According to him, Lauretta Onochie, an APC member, known for constantly insulting opposition members cannot occupy a position meant for non-partisan citizens of the country.
Falana’s statement reads;
MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS OF POLITICAL PARTIES ARE NOT QUALIFIED TO BE INEC COMMISSIONERS
“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:
1. 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;
2. 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.
3. 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;
4. 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 Independent National Electoral Commission “shall be non-partisan”.
“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 Independent National Electoral Commission. 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 the Independent National Electoral Commission.”