There was tension in the National Assembly Wednesday as Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, asked the Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to screen for confirmation the Special Assistant on Social Media to the President, Lauretta Onochie, and five others as commissioners of the electoral body.
The development comes eight months after the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), sent the list of the nominees to the Senate for screening.
Buhari had, on October 12, nominated Onochie (Delta), Prof Sani Adam (North- Central); Dr Baba Bila (North-East); Professor Muhammad Sani Kallah (Katsina) and Professor Kunle Cornelius Ajayi (Ekiti) as national commissioners of the INEC. He also nominated Saidu Babura Ahmad as a resident electoral commissioner (Jigawa).
Other names on the list are Prof. Muhammad Kallah (Katsina); Prof. Kunle Ajayi (Ekiti); Saidu Ahmad (Jigawa);
The process was however derailed as members of the Peoples Democratic Party accused Onochie of unnecessarily casting aspersions on their party.
They also faulted the idea of making Onochie, who is a member of the All Progressives Congress, as an INEC Commissioner to represent Delta State on the board of the commission.
The panel, which has Senator Kabiru Gaya as Chairman, has four weeks to conclude the screening and report back to the Senate at plenary.
The Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, while seconding the motion for the screening of the nominees, expressed surprise that the name of Onochie was included on the list.
He said, “I am surprised that the name of Lauretta Onochie was still included on the list despite the fact that we have resolved her issue a long time ago.
” I am seconding the motion for the screening of the nominees, reluctantly and we shall meet in Philippines.”