Yesterday, a section of Nigerians commended the national assembly for rejecting the nomination of Lauretta Onochie as an INEC commissioner. I see no reason whatsoever why the national assembly should be commended.
Ordinarily, there shouldn’t have been any qualms with the commendation. But when one scrutinizes the reason given for the rejection, you will then see clearly why I chose not to join the bandwagon of this needless commendation.
The national assembly didn’t reject her nomination because of her well established and proven partisan affiliations amongst other unsavory comments she made in the past. They rejected her because in their opinion, she didn’t pass the federal character principle test. This reason makes it all the more laughable.
This same national assembly had in the past ignored several calls by fellow senators and indeed, well meaning Nigerians to step down certain nominations that were a brazen affront against the federal character principle.
They went ahead to confirm all such nominees even when it was clear that the constitution was being violated. When did they suddenly begin to respect the federal character principle?
If they knew there was no vacancy in the first place, why did they proceed to screen the nominee? Why did the committee on INEC not draw the attention of the executive to the fact that there was no vacancy in that state? Why did they waste productive man hours on a fruitless exercise?
My conclusion is this; following the massive public angst and protest that followed her nomination, the national assembly was boxed into a corner by the weight of evidence supporting the claims that the nominee was deeply partisan, diabolically unfit and incapable of taking fair decisions when it gets to crunch time.
Having previously dismissed those allegations, and as a face saving measure, they came up with this laughable and ludicrous reason. If anyone is to be commended for this rejection, it is the Nigerians that raised the alarm and provided sufficient evidence to back their claims that should be commended.
I would have commended the national assembly if they had said that in the light of the partisan affiliations of the nominee and petitions submitted against her, they are stepping down her nomination. But they didn’t even make any references to those issues. They only said they aren’t confirming her due to the violation of the federal character principle.
What this simply means is that she can be represented as soon as the current occupier from Delta state vacates that position for whatever reasons.