The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has joined other groups calling for the rejection of Lauretta Onochie’s nomination as an INEC commissioner.
Executives and supporters of the party led by its National Chairman, Uche Secondus, stormed the entrance of the National Assembly around 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday to kick against Ms Onochie’s nomination.
Ms Onochie, the current Special Assistant on New Media to President Muhammadu Buhari, was appointed by the president as an INEC commissioner in October 2020.
The appointment had triggered outrage among Nigerians with many individuals and groups calling for the rejection of the nominee who has openly declared membership for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
She had also campaigned for Mr Buhari in 2015.
Many have said Ms Onochie’s appointment would mar future elections should she be confirmed by the Senate.
The PDP in a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Senate Commitee on INEC, Kabiru Gaya, said Ms Onochie, being a card carrying member of a political party (APC), is not qualified for such appointment as stated in relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
They said the demonstration is aimed at saving the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, the Senate and Mr Buhari from public ridicule.
“Our Party considers it as important to bring to the attention of your committee the fact that our duty is to let you know that the National Assembly must endeavour to do things right and in accordance with the dictates of the laws of the country.
“The Nigeria Constitution 1999 as amended clearly prohibits people like Ms Onochie, who is very partisan, in fact, a card carrying member of a political party to be appointed into INEC as an electoral umpire. Section 156(i)(a) and third schedule, Part 1, Item F, Paragraph 14(1) of the Constitution have out rightly disqualified her.
“…we call on your committee to reject the nomination of Mrs. Onochie because she cannot be neutral or independent as she is factually known to be an unrepentant card carrying member of the APC with uncountable number of proofs,” part of the letter read.
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The Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South) and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, received the letter on behalf of the Senate and promised that justice will be done.
No internal crisis in PDP – Spokesperson
On his part, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said there was no internal crisis in the party.
He also vowed that the PDP will retrieve seats of the lawmakers at the National Assembly who had defected from the party through litigations.
He was responding to questions on the gale of defections currently rocking the party.
“There is no internal party crisis in any chapter of the party. The essence of politics is contestation for power. There could be instances of contestation in our respective chapters but to declare a situation of crisis is totally wrong.
“As we speak, our National Working Committee is one. We have one, united indivisible executive committees. It will be wrong for anybody to canvass that there is crisis.
“We are going to retrieve every seat in which a member of the platform of the PDP has decamped to any other party.”
The PDP’s reaction comes hours after two Zamfara senators, Sahabi Yau and Hassan Anka, announced their defections to the APC.
It also comes a day after the state governor, Bello Matawalle, officially joined the ruling party.
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