Lauretta Onochie’s nomination would generate controversy in future elections -Jega

July 12, 2021
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FORMER Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Attahiru Jega has warned that the nomination of Lauretta Onochie as INEC National Commissioner could lead to controversy in future elections in the country.

Jega, who spoke during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Sunday said the president should tread cautiously so as not to appoint someone that could undermine the credibility of the electoral body.

He advised the president to find another woman with unquestionable credibility from the South-South.

“To be honest, the president can just withdraw her nomination. After all, there are so many other women with credibility, capacity, and competence in Delta state and Cross River state.

“This kind of controversy is really avoidable. Any person who generated such a controversy, the appointing authorities should be careful because you don’t want to appoint anybody that can raise suspicions or doubts or can lead to a loss of trust of the electoral management body,” he said.

“I’m sorry to say that from some of the documents that I have been privileged to see, both about her British citizenship and the very active participation in a political party up until 2019, you will try to avoid appointing such people into an electoral commission — because it can generate controversy.

“To be honest, the president can also withdraw that nomination. After all, there are so many women with credibility, with capacity, competence in both Delta and across Rivers, so why bring someone that can generate controversy and raise suspicions about the intention of the appointment.”

Onochie, a personal assistant to the president on social media, was nominated along with five others by President Muhammadu Buhari as national commissioners of the INEC, but many Nigerians, including civil society organisations (CSOs), are insisting that the National Assembly should not confirm her due to partisanship.

However, she told the Senate Committee on INEC when she appeared for screening on Thursday that she has discontinued her membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) shortly after the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.

But available court documents and evidence from her social media account contradicted her claim.

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