By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has referred President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to confirm six nominees as national commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to its Committee on INEC.
The confirmation request was made by the President in accordance with paragraph 14 Part I(F) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
The names of the nominees for screening include: Professor Muhammad Sani Kallah (Katsina); Lauretta Onochie (Delta); Prof. Kunle Cornelius Ajayi (Ekiti); Saidu Babura Ahmad (Jigawa); Prof. Sani Muhammad Adam (North-Central); and Dr. Baba Bila (North-East).
Moments after an Executive Communication in the name of the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi North) was read at the commencement of plenary, the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe rose to challenge the nomination of Lauretta Onochie as INEC Commissioner to represent Delta State.
He said: “Mr. President, in seconding this motion, we have dealt with this matter of the nomination of Lauretta Onochie.
“So, we feel surprised that the same name has resurfaced no longer as a National Commissioner, but as a Delta State Commissioner.
“Mr. President, reluctantly, I second the motion that these nominations be referred to the relevant committee for action and we shall meet in Philippines.”
Responding to Abaribe’s observation, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, however, made clarifications on Onochie’s nomination.
“The nominees are not state resident electoral commissioners, they are national commissioners.
“And there was no change of request, so they are not resident electoral commissioners”, Lawan explained.
The President’s confirmation request was, thereafter, referred by the Senate President to the Committee on INEC.
The Committee which is chaired by Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano South) is expected to screen the nominees and report back to the upper chamber in two weeks.