Technocrat Media Nigeria
ABUJA – Attahiru Jega, former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has advised the president to withdraw the appointment of Lauretta Onochie as a commissioner of the electoral body says the controversy is bad for INEC.
Prof. Attahiru said the controversy surrounding her nomination is not good for the integrity of elections she may oversee if she is confirmed.
Many Nigerians and notable civil society organizations have opposed the nomination on the grounds that Onochie is partisan and a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
But during her appearance before the senate screening committee on Thursday, she claimed that she was no longer a member of the APC.
Ms Onochie said she quitted partisan politics in 2019 after the general elections.
Jega while speaking on the issue, he said it is likely that any election she supervises that involves the APC will “still generate controversy”.
The former INEC boss during an interview on Politics Today on Sunday advised President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw Onochie’s nomination.
He said: “This kind of controversy is really avoidable. Any person who generated such a controversy, the appointing authorities should be careful because you don’t want to appoint anybody that can raise suspicions or doubts or can lead to a loss of trust of the electoral management body.
“I’m sorry to say that from some of the documents that I have been privileged to see, both about her British citizens and the very active participation in a political party up until 2019, you will try to avoid appointing such people into an electoral commission — because it can generate controversy.
“To be honest, the president can also withdraw that nomination. After all, there are so many women with credibility, with capacity, competence in both Delta and across Rivers, so why bring someone that will generate controversy and raise suspicions about the intention of the appointment.”
Prof. Jega also criticized the move by the national assembly leadership to block the proposed electronic transmission of results.
He said denying INEC the opportunity will be counterproductive and will undermine future elections.
Jega said: “When one looks at the draft of the electoral bill currently in circulation, which the national assembly hopes to pass before they go on recess, with regards to utilization of technology, there is a very contradictory provision there. While they permitted INEC to use electronic voting, they now said provided that INEC does not use electronic transmission of results. It is really counterproductive.
“Electronic transmission will ensure that the traditional fraudulent activities of changing results from the collation centers will now be things of the past, so it is very important that our lawmakers recognize how important it is.
“And frankly, not permitting electronic transmission of results will even create an impression that the legislators are afraid and unconcerned about the integrity of results.”
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