The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, has expressed concerns about the nomination of Ms. Lauretta Onochie, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Social Media as National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) representing the South-South.
According to a statement by Clement Nwankwo, Convener, Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Ms. Onochie is a known partisan supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari and his ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
They noted that item F, paragraph 14 of the third schedule of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) forbids a partisan politician as a member of INEC – a body charged under the Constitution to unbiasedly conduct of free and fair elections, adding that her nomination amounts to a major attempt at undermining efforts to build credibility for an improved electoral process in the country.
Situation Room called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately withdraw her nomination.
“Should the President fail to withdraw this nomination the Nigerian Senate is hereby called upon to disregard her nomination without any consideration whatsoever”, Nwankwo said.
Situation Room also called on the Nigerian Senate to investigate all of the other nominations by the President especially as there are concerns that some of these nominations may have been by self-serving interests.
“It is important for Nigeria that the composition of INEC is transparently non-partisan and independent of partisan political manipulation”, they emphasized.
The Situation Room is made up of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working in support of credible and transparent elections in Nigeria and includes such groups as Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), CLEEN Foundation, Action Aid Nigeria, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Proactive Gender Initiative (PGI), Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF), African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD), CITAD, Enough is Enough Nigeria, WANGONET, Partners for Electoral Reform, JDPC, New Initiative for Social Development and Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA). Others are Development Dynamics, Stakeholder Democracy Network, Human Rights Monitor, Reclaim Naija, Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE), CISLAC, The Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR), Young Innovators and Vocational Training Initiative, EdoCSOs, CONGOs Edo State, Brave Heart Initiative, LAPDO, Partners West Africa and several other CSOs numbering more than seventy.