A nominee for the Federal Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Madam Lauretta Onochie, has publicly admitted she is no longer a member of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
The Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Media, stated this when she appeared before the Senate on Thursday, adding that she left the ruling party immediately after the 2019 elections.
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Recall that Lauretta Onochie (Delta), Professor Muhammad Sani Kallah (Katsina), Professor Kunle Cornelius Ajayi (Ekiti), Saidu Babura Ahmad (Jigawa), Prof. Sani Muhammad Adam (North Central) and Dr Baba Bila (Northeast) had been nominated by the president as national commissioners of INEC.
The nomination stirred controversies as some Nigerians, including top political officials, condemned her inclusion in the list of nominees.
Many Civil Society Groups and the opposition parties had kicked against the nomination of Onochie, who was the Senior Assistant to President Buhari in his first tenure.
Aside allegations of being in partisan politics, it was also noted that Onochie hails from Delta State, whereas, a serving Federal Commissioner in INEC also hails from the same state, which negates the Federal Character principle of Nigeria’s constitution.
During the screening by the Senate Committee on INEC on Thursday, Onochie, who was drilled by the lawmakers, denied being a member of any political party in Nigeria at the moment.
When quizzed further by former Deputy Senate President, Dr Ike Ekweremadu; Senator Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa West) and Senator Itsifanus Gyang (Plateau South); Onochie admitted she discontinued her membership of APC in 2019 and she did not partake in the revalidation of membership of the party held early 2021.
“Like I said, as from 2019, after President Muhammad Buhari was reelected, my duties in politics ended and it stopped. And all my concern thereafter was to support Mr President”, Onochie told the Committee.