By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
The 2023 General Elections in Nigeria will be a huge joke if the National Assembly (NASS) falls to the temptation of confirming the nomination of Ms. Laurreta Onochie as an Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Commissioner.
This is the view of the Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC), Mallam Auwal Musa Rafsanjani who insists that Onochie’s confirmation by NASS will ensure that the 2023 General Elections will not only lack credibility but will be a farce.
Speaking on Channels Television breakfast programme ‘Sunrise Daily’ on Friday, Rafsanjani said it will amount to subverting the will of the majority of Nigerians who have risen to oppose the nomination of Onochie as INEC Commissioner because of her partisanship.
According to him: “I am urging NASS to respect the broad views of Nigerians if they (Senators) are truly the representatives of the people. Laurreta Onochie, as far as I am concerned is an appointee of the sitting President who is a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). She has sympathy for APC. She cannot be an INEC Commissioner.
“At a time INEC is working hard to be independent, let us not corrupt the system. I will be highly disappointed if the Senate clears Onochie to become an INEC Commissioner. If that happens then 2023 General Elections will be a huge joke”, he stated.
Rafsanjani also called for the respect of the Nigerian Constitution on the appointment of INEC Commissioners, wondering why the law and rules should be thrown out of the window to impose Onochie on Nigerians against their wish.
“If I were to be in Onochie’s shoes, I will just withdraw from this exercise because of the uproar and controversy the INEC job have generated”, Rafsanjani concluded.
Prompt News reports Onochie had claimed during her screening by the Senate on Thursday that she was no longer partisan.
But, despite denying allegiance to the APC, an old tweet has now emerged indicating that Presidential Aide, Onochie, supported and promoted the party in 2020, contrary to her claim that she quitted partisan politics in 2019.
Onochie on Thursday appeared before the Senate Committee on INEC which screened her for the position of National Commissioner for the electoral umpire.
She was nominated for the position by President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2020. If confirmed, she will represent Delta State and by extension, the South-South geopolitical zone on the Commission.
However, her nomination has triggered outrage among Nigerians with many describing it as unconstitutional.
Many Nigerians have asked the president to withdraw the nomination on grounds that Onochie is partisan and so it would be undemocratic for her to be appointed into such an office.
Civil Society Organisations have also petitioned the Senate opposing Onochie’s appointment. While the main opposition party, PDP, also protested her nomination.
During her screening, Onochie claimed she is not partisan anymore.
Ms Onochie who said she is out of politics, described herself as “madam due process.”
“I have seen the petitions against me but I stand for justice and fairness. Thus nobody has anything to fear. I am madam due process and this is the reason behind my attacks, because I follow the law and due process”, she concluded.