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Onochie: Buhari preparing ground for nation’s electoral doom in 2023

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The Coalition of the United Political Parties (CUPP) has dared President Muhammadu Buhari over the nomination of his media aide, Lauretta Onochie, saying that she has been too partisan to be a Commissioner at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The group described her nomination into the electoral umpire as shocking, provocative and an invitation to electoral crisis in 2023 as well as a desecretion of the sanctity of the ballot box.

The group viewed non-reversal of Lauretta Onochie’s appointment as preparing grounds for electoral doom in 2023.

In a statement issued and signed by the group’s spokesman, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere and made available to CAPITAL POST in Abuja on Wednesday, the group envisaged that there would be rejection of Presidential election outcomes given that the nominee is a card carrying member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Accordingly, the CUPP rejected the nomination, while they called for the withdrawal of her nomination. They equally called on the Nigerian Senate to decline her confirmation.

The statement said: “President Muhammadu Buhari took the lawlessness that his administration has come to be known for to another level on Tuesday when he brazenly sent the name of his social media aide, Lauretta Onochie, a highly biased and partisan politician and member of the Ruling APC Party from Ward 5 Onicha Olona, Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta state to the Senate for confirmation as a National Commissioner with the Independent National Electoral Commission.

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“Opposition political parties, civil society organisations and indeed all Nigerians received Onochie’s nomination with shock and disbelief because the nominee is partisan, contrary to the nation’s constitution.

“Beside being a presidential aide, Onochie like we said earlier is a
card-carrying member of the ruling All Progresives Congress (APC) in Ward 5, Onicha Olona, Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State.

“According to 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 Commission.

“The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) therefore declares the nomination of an APC member into INEC as provocative. It is not only an invitation to electoral crisis in 2023, but also a descretion of the sanctity of the ballot box and a foundation for electoral doom that is capable of sinking Nigeria’s democracy in 2023.

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“Our position is that there is no way the outcome of an election will be
acceptable when a known member of the ruling party sits among those saddled with the responsibility of conducting the election.

“Opposition political parties are of the view that Buhari is laying the
foundation for political violence ahead of the 2023 election. It is our
fear that the crisis that will engulf Nigeria may make the electroal crisis of 1963 and 1983 a child’s play if Onochie’s nomination is not
withdrawn.

“We shall start mobilising Nigerians and indeed lovers of the country
ahead of 2023 to prepare for mother of all civil action against the outcome of the election if this APC member is not rejected by the Senate.

“We state in clear terms that the CUPP rejects the nomination of Onochie, an APC member into INEC and we call on either President Buhari to withdraw the nomination or the Senate to reject the confirmation. In this regard, we call on opposition lawmakers to mobilise for mother of parliamentary battle and ensure that the nomination is shut down in case it is not withdrawn.

“Beyond the non-eligibility of the nominee to hold that position because of her partisanship, opposition political parties also notice that her nomination and those of others did not follow the due process.

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“The constitution saddled the Council of State the responsibility of advising the President in the exercise of his powers with respect to the appointment of members to the commission.

“It is therefore illegal to send nominees to the Senate for screening without first sending such nominations to the Council of State.

“In appointing members of INEC, the President is required to consult with the Council of State pursuant to Section 154 (3)of the Constitution.

“Paragraph B of Part 1 of the 3rd Schedule to the Constitution provides that “The Council of State shall have the 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.”

“We therefore urge the President to withdraw all the nominations he made in violation of this provision and first send them to the Council of State as recommended by the constitution.

“This country is governed by the law and the President and his government cannot choose which laws to obey and which one to disobey.

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