OrderPaperToday – President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has referred President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to confirm Lauretta Onochie and five other nominees as national commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to its Committee on INEC.
This is despite stiff opposition from some senators spearheaded by Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South) who challenged the nomination of Ms. Onochie as Commissioner to represent Delta State in the electoral body.
This came moments after the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi North) read an Executive Communication, at the commencement of plenary, Wednesday announcing the names of nominees for screening.
The confirmation request was made by the President in accordance with paragraph 14 Part I(F) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
The names of the other nominees for screening include: Professor Muhammad Sani Kallah (Katsina); Prof. Kunle Cornelius Ajayi (Ekiti); Saidu Babura Ahmad (Jigawa); Prof. Sani Muhammad Adam (North-Central); and Dr. Baba Bila (North-East).
Abaribe said: “Mr. President, in seconding this motion, we have dealt with this matter of the nomination of Lauretta Onochie.
“So, we feel surprised that the same name has resurfaced no longer as a National Commissioner, but as a Delta State Commissioner.
“Mr. President, reluctantly, I second the motion that these nominations be referred to the relevant committee for action and we shall meet in Philippines.”
Responding to Abaribe’s observation, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, however, made clarifications on Onochie’s nomination.
“The nominees are not state resident electoral commissioners, they are national commissioners.
“And there was no change of request, so they are not resident electoral commissioners”, Lawan explained.
The President’s confirmation request was, thereafter, referred by the Senate President to the Committee on INEC.
The Committee which is chaired by Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano South) is expected to screen the nominees and report back to the upper chamber in two weeks.
Recall that the earlier nomination of Onochie was snubbed by the senate which failed to act on Mr. President’s request for weeks.