INEC Job: We studied the mood of Nigerians before rejecting Onochie – Senate Panel

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The senate committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it studied the mood of citizens to reject the nomination of Lauretta Onochie, presidential aide, as a commissioner of the electoral body.

In a plenary session on Tuesday, Kabiru Gaya, chairman of committee, said they would not recommend the confirmation of Onochie because May Agbamuche, a commissioner from Delta state, is still serving at the commission and she hails from the same state as Onochie.

Subsequently, the presidential aide was rejected by senators when her confirmation was put to vote.

Onochie was nominated for the job by President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2020.

Her nomination sparked outrage over concerns that she is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), but the presidential aide said she resigned her membership of the ruling party in 2019.

Speaking with reporters, Gaya said because Agbamuche is still serving, his committee was unable to confirm her.

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The chairman said: “We studied the mood of Nigerians. We could not approve the appointment of Onochie because she is from the same state as an INEC commissioner from Delta State, Mrs Agbamuche-Mbu, whose tenure may expire by December this year.

“Agbamuche-Mbu is still serving in INEC till December this year. That’s why we cannot clear another candidate from the state.

“President Buhari actually specified her (Agbamuche) state, which is Delta, in the letter.

“Also, during her confirmation by the 8th Senate, I was there when two senators from Delta, Messrs Ovie Omo-Agege and James Manager, stood up to congratulate the Senate for confirming her.

“We also got records from the past senate screening that Agbamuche-Mbu was a nominee from Delta state.”

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