Free, fair election elusive with partisan INEC officials, NCP chief declares
• More opposition mounts against Onochie’s confirmation
Chairman of National Conscience Party (NCP), Dr. Yunusa Tanko, yesterday, expressed concern over the appointment of card members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to oversee the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Tanko, who made the assertion ahead of the June 12 Democracy Day celebration, maintained that conducting a credible, free and fair election in 2023 would remain a mirage under the present circumstances.
Citing decision to appoint Lauretta Onochie, a Personal Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari as INEC Commissioner, Yunusa, who canvassed outright reform of the electoral process, said democracy was worth celebrating in spite of the challenges facing the country.
His words: “There is no doubt that the occasion remains significant and is worth celebrating even with the problem of political nomadism in the country. There is the issue of appointing people, who belong to a political party into the electoral commition to oversee the voting process.
“You cannot approbate and reprobate by having people like Onochie in INEC. If we don’t purge our electoral system, we would not be able to sustain our democracy and that is not good for us.”
BESIDES, human rights lawyer and chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Section on Public Interest and Development Law, Monday Ubani, has cautioned the Senate against confirming Onochie’s nomination as INEC Commissioner.
He stated this in a letter dated June 10, 2021 and addressed to the Chairman, Senate Committee on INEC, Kabiru Gaya and made available to The Guardian yesterday in which he argued that as a member of the APC, she was unfit for the position.
Ubani, who was second Vice President of the NBA, stressed that President Buhari failed to comply with Section 154 (3) of the 1999 Constitution, which prescribed that the president must nominate INEC Commissioner in consultation with the Council of State.
MEANWHILE, the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (NCSSR), yesterday, noted that item F, paragraph 14 of the third schedule of the 1999 Constitution forbids the nomination of Onochie as National Commissioner of INEC for the South-South.
Convener of the NCSSR, Ene Obi, maintained that Section 156(1) of the constitution makes it mandatory that an appointee of INEC shall not be a member of any political party.
“Onochie is a political appointee and employee of President Buhari of the APC. Her utterances, statements, disposition and carriage have always conveyed political bias and partisanship in support of APC.
“While we do not fault her loyalty to her principal and political party, we stress that these traits are not suitable for the position of a non-partisan agency. It is immaterial that such a person, in anticipation for appointment, quickly resigns his or her membership of a political party,” Obi stated.