The Senate may have suspended the screening and confirmation of the nominees of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for appointment as Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission, due to the inclusion of Ms. Lauretta Onochie, on the list.
Onochie, from Delta State, is the Special Assistant to the President on New Media, who has been defending the All Progressives Congress-led government with passion.
Apart from Onochie, other nominees on Buhari’s list were, Prof. Muhammad Sani Kallah (National Electoral Commissioner), Katsina; Prof. Kunle Cornelius Ajayi (National Electoral Commissioner), Ekiti; and Saidu Babura Ahmad (Resident Electoral Commissioner), Jigawa.
The Senate Minority caucus last week faulted Onochie’s appointment claiming that Buhari’s action was a violation of the Nigerian constitution.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan did not send Buhari’s official communication to the Committee on INEC saddled with the responsibility of screening the nominees before the Senate went on a three- week break on Tuesday.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that the Senate President Ahmad Lawan decided not to forward the list of nominees following stiff opposition by a majority of senators opposed to Onochie’s nomination across party lines.
A senator who spoke with our correspondent on the issue, on condition of anonymity on Thursday said “The Senate President would have referred the nominees’ list to the INEC committee but had to halt the process when it was obvious that majority of us advised him to maintain status quo pending when Onochie’s replacement will be sent to the Senate.”
Another Senator who also spoke on condition of anonymity said “Onochie’s representative in the Senate, who is also a principal officer, expressed shock when the Senate President read the letter announcing her as one of the nominees.
“The Principal officer has mobilised his colleagues in the leadership to oppose Onochie’s nomination and the Senate President had no choice than to put the entire screening process on hold.”
The Spokesperson for the Senate, Dr. Ajibola Basiru, however, said “That (screening) is not the priority issue for the Senate now. Our priority now is on how to ensure peace and stability in the country and we are seriously working towards achieving that.”
CVR: Traditional Ruler Tasks INEC On Mass Mobilisation
A traditional ruler in Elele community, in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, Chief Mike Elechi, has called on the indigenes of the community and the state to participate in the Continuous Voter’s Registration (CVR) to enable them choose who will govern them in the next general elections.
Sir Elechi also used the opportunity to call on the Independent National Electoral Commission to organise stakeholders meeting in his community, saying that such interactive session would shed more light on the importance of the electoral process.
Elechi stated this in an interview with journalists in his home town over the weekend, saying that the call became imperative following the hardship faced by the citizens as result of bad leadership in the country
The former Permanent Secretary said although he was yet to see the commencement of the exercise in the area, he, stated the need to organise stakeholders meeting by the electoral empire which would achieve the desired objectives.
According to him, INEC has by this exercise provided an opportunity for full participation of those above 18 years who were not registered during the last exercise
The Chief Executive Officer of Vintage Farms, said INEC had provided yet another platform for eligible voters to register and vote out bad government led by the federal government.
“As I urge INEC to carry out adequate sensitization ,it behoves those above 18 years to register and vote and as well be voted for.
“Get your voters card to enable you throw bad governance into the dustbin.
“It will also help us get out where we are now.”
Elechi pointed out that his community has a large number of voters in Ikwerre Local Government area, stressing that concerted efforts should be made to ensure that the exercise was in the area .
By: Akujobi Amadi
Diri Cautions Appointees Over Early Politicking
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has cautioned his appointees against early politicking ahead of the 2023 elections, saying he would not hesitate to sack any of them found wanting.
Speaking before commencement of the weekly state Executive Council meeting in Government House Governor Diri frowned on the activities of some of his appointees, which he said were hitting up the polity ahead of the 2023 elections, stressing that it was too early for open politicking.
A statement by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted him as saying despite people having the right to aspire to any political office, the time was not ripe for politicking.
Diri reminded his appointees that the administration lost considerable time last year due to COVID-19 and needless litigations, stressing that it was in a hurry to deliver on its campaign promises and would not afford to waste time politicking.
He wondered why appointees would be involved in open politicking when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had not even released a timetable for elections.
The state helmsman urged members of his cabinet interested in open politicking at this time, especially those from Bayelsa West Senatorial District, to resign or be ready to be sacked.
He called on all those involved in the early politicking to immediately withdraw and follow the directives of his administration, saying his government was not ready for politics at this time.
“I find it very difficult to believe that appointees in this government have already started open politicking.
“Yes, it is the constitutional right of anybody to contest but even the Bible tells us that there is time for everything. At this time, we are trying to stamp our feet to meet up our campaign promises to our people.”
“I hereby caution all those involved to immediately withdraw. If you are prepared to continue with this government, you must listen to the music of this administration. We are not prepared to start politicking from this year”, he said.
Meanwhile, Governor Diri has also sworn in two new Special Advisers.
They are, Alabo Ozubide, Special Adviser, Legal Matters, and Onuma Johnson, Special Adviser on Non-Indigenes.
While congratulating them, he said their appointments were based on merit and in line with his campaign promises, charging them to avoid friction with commissioners,just as he reiterated that their cooperation with commissioners would deliver development to the people of the state.
“We promised that when elected, we would appoint a Special Adviser from among non-ndigenes. This appointment is in fulfilment of that promise. We believe that you will be able to synergise and gather non-indigenes together.
“Often, we see role conflicts between special advisers and commissioners that duty bound to implement government policies. You as special advisers should cooperate with them,” he said.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
PDP Urges Nigerians To Embrace E-Registration Of Members
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged Nigerians to embrace in its online membership registration scheduled to begin in August.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan made the appeal during a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja.
Ologbondiyan urged Nigerians to visit www.iampdp.com for the online registration at the comfort of their homes.
He also expressed delight over requests from Nigerians and the interests they were already showing for the online registration.
Ologbondiyan urged Nigerians to come to PDP and own the process.
The PDP spokesman also commended Nigerians on the way they embraced the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) online ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).
He said “PDP is happy to hear the INEC saying no fewer than one million Nigerians have completed their online pre-registration.”
Ologbondiyan said the way Nigerians embraced the CVR showed they were dissatisfied with governance in the country and ready for 2023.
He urged Nigerians of voting age and those yet to register for Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to continue with the CVR.
He said “We appeal to those who are educated, especially members of the PDP to encourage others to participate in the ongoing CVR.”
Ologbondiyan also urged Nigerians to register to enable them to vote, pointing out that people should know it is their rights to vote.
Asked how PDP would conduct its e-registration with the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) recent comment on Nigeria network covered, Ologbondiyan said as far as PDP was concerned, every part of Nigeria had network coverage.
“From the information we have received from all our members across the 36 states and across the 774 local governments area of the country, there is no where that we have received a report that they cannot carry out online registration.
“Even INEC has come out to say that they have no problems with online registration.
“We are happy that INEC has come out to reveal that not less than one million Nigerians have so far participated in the Continuous Voters’ Registration exercise of the commission,” he said.
On inquiry over the role of the National Assembly members on electronic transmission of election results, he said the party would meet its members in the National Assembly to review their participation.
He said “The PDP is calling a meeting between the party and caucus in the National Assembly to review the participation of members in the legislative activity of the National Assembly as it concerns the voting on transmission of results.”
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