OrderPaperToday – The All Progressives Congress (APC) has asked the Senate to confirm the nomination of Ms. Lauretta Onochie as national commissioner for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In a statement issued by its deputy national publicity secretary, Yekini Nabena, the APC said all allegations leveled against Onochie by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were baseless and subjective.
The party accordingly urged the senate not to pay attention to the criticisms and consider the appointment on merit.
Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari wrote the senate seeking confirmation of Onochie, his aide on social media, as INEC commissioner.
The move drew widespread condemnation from segments of the public, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which asked the senate not to confirm the nomination.
Onochie has been accused of being a member of the APC and thus cannot occupy a non-partisan office like the one for which she has been nominated.
But the APC demurred saying “rash, subjective, misplaced and selective criticism by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some interest groups” amounts to cheap blackmail and grandstanding.
The APC said: “Perhaps the PDP needs to be reminded that one of its card-carrying members, Dr. Johnson Alalibo is the current Edo State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC). Alalibo who was also a former Deputy Whip in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly has been an electoral asset to the PDP but that is an issue to be addressed another day.
“We urge the patriotic 9th Senate to stick with the facts and issues by ignoring the PDP’s grandstanding, cheap blackmail, baseless and subjective allegations of partisanship it is sponsoring against Ms Onochie. For the PDP, Ms Onochie’s capacity and effectiveness as a public servant and senior social media profesional amounts to partisanship.
“Since public service now equates ‘partisanship’ we invite the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to equally fault appointment of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the current INEC Chairman who was the immediate-past Executive Secretary of the government’s Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) as well as the earlier stated Dr. Johnson Alalibo.
“We equally invite the PDP to query the ‘unquestionable integrity’ of brazen PDP apologists such as Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC; Mike Igini, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Akwa Ibom State, among others.
“We challenge the PDP to point to any of its defunct 16-year administrations that defended and guaranteed the Executive arm of government’s non-interference in INEC’s operation and the true independence of the electoral commission as President Buhari’s government has done”.