Madam Lauretta Onochie, a nominee for the Federal Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Thursday admitted she was a member of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) before the 2019 general elections.
Onochie was nominated as a Federal Commissioner to represent the South-South Zone of Nigeria by President Muhammad Buhari.
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 the 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.
She also could not refute the affidavit she sworn to at a Federal High Court, after she returned from the United Kingdom, where she affirmed that she was an APC member and a member of the Buhari Support Group.
As at the time of filing this report, it was yet to be decided if the nominee should be placed on oath, as suggested by Senator Bamidele Opeyemi (Ekiti North).