Femi Falana, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has given constitutional provisions against the nomination of Lauretta Onochie, an aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, as an Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) commissioner.
Quoting some sections of the constitution, Falana, in a statement on Tuesday, argued that Onochie who is “a card-carrying member of a registered political party or a well known supporter of a particular political party was constitutionally disqualified from getting a position in the Commission.
Part of the sections of the constitution given provides that a member of the electoral body “shall be non-partisan”.
Describing the President’s aide as “an unrepentant member of the ruling party” and one known to consistently attack members of other political parties, the senior advocate added that she was partisan and therefore not qualified to be a member of INEC.
The statement read: “In view of the desire of President Muhammadu Buhari to fill some vacancies in the Independent National Electoral Commission it has become pertinent to draw the attention of the Council of State and the Senate to the following provisions of the Constitution:
1. In appointing the members of the INEC the President is required to consult with the Council of State pursuant to section 154 (3) of the Constitution;
2. Paragraph B of Part 1 of the 3rd Schedule to the Constitution provides that “The Council of State shall have power to advise the President in the exercise of his powers with respect to (iv) the Independent National Electoral Commission including the appointment of the members of the Commission.
3. Pursuant to section 154 (1) of the Constitution, the appointment of the members of the Independent National Electoral Commission shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate;
4. Paragraph 14 of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution as amended by Section 30, Act No 1 of 2010, a member of the Independent National Electoral Commission “shall be non-partisan.
“From the foregoing, it is crystal clear that a card-carrying member of a registered political party or a well known supporter of a particular political party is constitutionally disqualified from the membership of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
“As an unrepentant member of the ruling party Mrs Loretta Onochie has consistently attacked members of other political parties. To that extent, she is partisan and therefore not qualified to be a member of the Independent National Electoral Commission.”
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