The screening of the Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, as a commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has been met with criticism by Nigerians on social media.
President Buhari had appointed Onochie, alongside Prof. Sani Muhammad Adam (North-Central), Prof. Muhammad Sani Kallah (Katsina), Dr Baba Bila (North-East), Saidu Babura Ahmad (Jigawa), and Prof. Kunle Cornelius Ajayi (Ekiti) as INEC National Commissioners.
Taking to social media to register their grievances, Nigerians rejected Onochie’s screening and called on the Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for her removal.
Accusing her of partisanship, someone that goes by the name F.S. Yusuf, said “electronic transmission of results would be bullshit if Lauretta Onochie is ratified as INEC Commissioner by the Senate. Free and fair election will be a myth.”
Another person, Henry Shield, alleging that the appointment of Onochie was because the All Progressives Congress (APC) “plans to rig the 2023 election”. He queried the nomination saying, “how can anyone hate Nigeria to the point of nominating a Lauretta Onochie as INEC Commissioner?”
For Dr Dipo Awojide, “If the National Assembly allows somebody like Onochie Lauretta to become an INEC Commissioner, they should just merge with the executive properly so Nigerians can know we only have two arms of government.”
During her screening yesterday, Onochie denied being a member of the APC. “I have learned, over the years, to stand with the constitution and due process but not on partisanship or sentiments. Since 2019, I have not had anything to do with any political organisation, including Buhari support groups,” Onochie told the screening committee.
Onochie’s denial sparked further controversy on social media. A social media user, Uneku ‘Clark Kent, said, “Lauretta Onochie before the Senate screening panel said she is not a member of APC but admitted to an affidavit before a federal high court that she is a member of same APC. By doing so she voluntarily confessed to perjury which is a crime.”
Olusegun Onigbinde said, “The Audacity of Onochie’s nomination and the sanctity of 2023 election. This is enough reason to be worried.”
FS. Yusuf said, “I think we’ve gotten that point where the appointment of top officials of INEC, shouldn’t be at the prerogative of the President. Please don’t tell me we have a Senate to screen them. Senate didn’t approve the appointment of Magu yet he served and ended his tenure as EFCC chairman.”
Henry Shield said he “Watched Onochie Lauretta’s screening as INEC Commissioner nominee. Then sight alone was disgusting, offensive, and nauseating. If we allow this to stand, we should not bother campaigning for any nonsense election in 2023.”
Recall that in June 2021, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rejected Onochie’s nomination in a protest at the National Assembly.