From Kenneth Udeh, Abuja
Senate President Ahmad Lawan has assigned the Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to screen for confirmation the appointments of Ms Lauretta Onochie and five others as INEC commissioners.
The development comes eight months after President Muhammadu Buhari provided the list of the nominees to the Senate for screening.
Onochie’s nomination had met stiff resistance from opposition federal lawmakers, popular human rights lawyer Femi Falana, human rights groups, civil society organisations, the PDP, the Sokoto State governor, among others.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) members in the Senate had discontinued the screening process, accusing Onochie, a presidential spokesperson, of unnecessarily casting aspersions on their party.
They had also questioned the motive behind nominating Onochie, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), as an INEC Commissioner to represent Delta State on the board of the commission.
The Leader of the Senate, Sen Abdullahi, Yahaya Abubakar, read the request during plenary:
ORDERS OF THE DAY EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATION
Executive Communication Confirmation of the Nominations of the following persons for Appointment as Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
That the Senate do consider the request of Mr. President C-in-C on the Confirmation of the Nominations of the following persons for Appointment as Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in accordance with Paragraph 14 Part I(F) of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
Other nominees on the list include Prof Muhammad Sani Kallah (Commissioner Katsina State), Prof Kunle Cornelius Ajayi (Commissioner Ekiti State), Saidu Babura Ahmad (Commissioner Jigawa), Prof Sani Muhammad Adam (Commissioner North-Central), Dr Baba Bila (Commissioner North-East).
The Senate INEC Screening Commitee, led by Senator Kabiru Gaya, as its Chairman, has been mandated by the Senate to conclude the screening and report back to the red chamber at plenary within four weeks.