By Haruna Salami
The leadership of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP led by the party National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus on Wednesday stormed the National Assembly to protest the nomination of Lauretta Onochie as one of the Commissioners of Independent National Electoral Commission INEC.
The party leaders, who stormed the National Assembly were welcome by the PDP Senators and House of Representatives members.
Newsdiaryonline reports that the PDP protest occurred despite the fact that some groups and legal experts have risen and spoken in support of Lauretta Onochie.
However, in their letter addressed to the Senate Committee Chairman on INEC, Senator Kabiru Gaya, titled, “rejection of the nomination of Lauretta Onochie,” the PDP said her nomimation has created a lot of misgivings in the court of public opinion and judgement, adding that no provisions of the Constitution favour her nomination.
The letter signed by the PDP National Secretary, Sen. Umaru Ibrahim Tsauri reads, “the National Working Committee, NWC of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has learnt of the nomination of Mrs. Lauretta Onochie as a Commissioner in INEC by Mr. President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “The nomination which was read on the floor of the Senate and forwarded to your committee for screening has created a lot of misgivings in the court of public opinion and judgement. “Our Party considers it as important to bring to the attention of your committee the fact that our duty is to let you know that the National Assembly must endeavour to do things right and in accordance with the dictates of the laws of the country. “The Nigeria Constitution 1999 as amended clearly prohibits people like Mrs. Onochie, who is very partisan, in fact, a card carrying member of a political party to be appointed into INEC as an electoral umpire. Section 156 (i)(a) and third schedule, Part 1, Item F, Paragraph 14(1) of the Constitution have out-rightly disqualified her.
“We are, therefore, writing to ask the Chairman to save the Senate President, the Senate itself and Mr. President from being ridiculed. “We call on your committee to reject the nomination of Mrs. Onochie because she cannot be neutral or independent as she is factually known to be an unrepentant card carrying member of the APC with uncountable number of proofs.
“Her confirmation will be a wholesome abuse of democratic tenets and dragging the reputation of the President and the Senate in the political mud. “Please, don’t make an avoidable legislative and political mistake for the country.”
Shortly after presenting the letter, Secondus urged the National Assembly to reject her.
“The National Assembly should reject her. It is important at this point that the country must know that in a crisis situation like this, especially on insecurity and economy, what we need from Mr. President is to conduct free and fair election.
“This woman (Onochie) is APC, she’s a card carrying member of APC from Aniocha Local Government. She will pollute the atmosphere at INEC and she will rig elections. We don’t want this election to be manipulated, even the one for Anambra and the subsequent ones coming in 2023.
“If this woman is there…. she’s a specialist in manipulation. We want the National Assembly to reject her totally and make sure we return this country to sanity.”
Responding, the Minority Leader in the Senate and PDP caucus leader in the National Assembly, Enyinnaya Abaribe said, “this letter will be presented immediately to the President of the Senate and Chairman of INEC.
“I can reassure you that justice will be done,” he said.
The party also vowed to retrieve every seat in which a member elected on the platform of PDP has decamped to any other party.
The spokesman of PDP, Kola Ologbodiyan said that the party will retrieve all its seats as a result of the defection of Zamfara state governor and federal lawmakers from the state.
According to him “there is no internal wrangling of any chapter of our party. To declare a situation of crisis in our party is totally wrong and even as we speak, our National Working Committee, NWC is one.
“Wherever you go to in our state chapters, we have one united, indivisible executive committee. It will be wrong and absolutely wrong for anybody to canvass a situation of crisis, there is no crisis in our party.
“We are going to retrieve every seat in which a member elected on the platform of PDP has decamped to any other party.”