…Nigerians have criticized Lauretta for her partisan tweets, querying her credentials for the job
A Senator representing Delta State has thrown a spanner in the works for President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination for the position of National Electoral Commissioner at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Lauretta Onochie, jeopardising her confirmation in the Senate.
The senator (name withheld), who was once a close ally of President Buhari, had engaged in a war of nerves and spoiler’s game by putting a spoke in Onochie’s wheel in getting the job, Persecondnews reports exclusively.
Buhari had in October 2020 nominated his Personal Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, as National Commissioner at INEC, Abuja, to represent Delta State.
It was learnt that the senator (name withheld) was once very close to Buhari until he discovered that the senator deceived him about the nominations for the Niger Delta Development Commission Governing Board.
The senator did not only misinformed the president on the issue of constituting the NDDC Board, but lied to him that he had consulted the relevant people the president suggested.
Persecondnews also gathered that the senator’s selfish behaviour of constituting the NDDC board without consultation with the leaders and stakeholders in the zone irked the president.
“President Buhari was so furious that despite his directive the senator did not reach out to some certain individuals, especially one retired military officer from the region,’’ a dependable source told Persecondnews.
Taking advantage of the president’s busy schedule and his deliberate style of “immobilty’’, the senator told Mr. President that he had reached out to the retired officer, only for Mr. President to find out weeks later that the senator was lying and actually together with a former APC chairman picked people into the board.
Infuriated by the duplicitous of the senator, Mr. President dissolved the board in 2020 and in its place, appointed an Interim Management Committee (IMC) to run the affairs of the commission.
A usually authoritative source at the Aso Rock Villa told Persecondnews that the senator has been declared a persona non grata at the nation’s seat of power .
It was also learnt that the senator who is close to a former governor of Delta State is also using the opportunity to hit back at Lauretta Onochie for her role during the former governor’s corruption trial in London some years ago.
Onochie was visibly in support of the trial and advocated that justice must be served.
In pursuit of his political ambition, the senator, though an APC leader, still fraternizes with the PDP.
Some APC senators are vowing a quick confirmation for Ms Onochie as the party goes all-in to make it a smooth ride. In spurning the Delta Senator’s entreaties to halt Lauretta Onochie’s confirmation, a member of the leadership and close ally of Mr. President, added that if “he was betting” he would expect Onochie to be confirmed next month.
“That’s the plan and there’s nothing I can see that would keep that from happening,” he said.
“I think we’ll see it happen next month,” he concluded.
“I believe her overtly partisan statements will have a toxic and detrimental impact on the important working relationship between members of Senate and INEC,’’ another senator said, adding “for this reason, I cannot support her nomination.”
In rejecting Buhari’s pick for the INEC job, the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, had in a terse statement recently also said by nominating his aide, President Buhari has “willfully gone against the constitution”.
Abaribe said:“President Buhari by nominating Loretta Onochie has willfully gone against the Constitution that he swore to uphold.
“Item F, paragraph 14 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) forbids a card-carrying member of a political party to be a member of INEC.’’
Following the stalemate created by the senator in the Senate, the screening of Onochie may have been put in abeyance or shot down.