By Sanni Onogu, Abuja
Leadership of main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday protested at the National Assembly against the nomination of the Special Assistant to the President on Social Media, Mrs. Lauretta Onochie, as a National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) representing Delta State.
This happened as the party threatened that four of its lawmakers who recently defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will be made to lose their seats in the Senate.
PDP’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, led the protest.
In a petition addressed to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC and titled: Rejection of the nomination of Lauretta Onochie as INEC Commissioner, Secondus urged the Upper Chamber to save its name and Nigeria’s from ridicule by rejecting Onochie.
The letter, signed by PDP’s National Secretary, Senator 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 judgment.
“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 Nigerian 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 outright 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.”
Also, addressing reporters on the sidelines of the protest, which took place at the outer gate of the National Assembly, popularly called MOPOL Gate, PDP’s National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan insisted that lawmakers who recently dumped the party and pitched their tent with the APC would be made to vacate their seats in due course.