The request of President Muhammadu Buhari for the Senate to confirm six nominees as national commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been referred to its Committee on INEC by the senate president, Ahmad Lawan.

The confirmation request was made by the president in accordance with paragraph 14 Part I(F) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

The names of the nominees for screening included Professor Muhammad Sani Kallah (Katsina), Lauretta Onochie (Delta), Prof. Kunle Cornelius Ajayi (Ekiti), Saidu Babura Ahmad (Jigawa), Prof. Sani Muhammad Adam (North-Central) and Dr. Baba Bila (North-East).

Special Assistant (Press) to President of the Senate, Ezrel Tabiowo, said in a statement Wednesday, June 9, 2021, that moments after an executive communication by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi North), was read at the commencement of plenary, the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe rose to challenge the nomination of Lauretta Onochie as INEC Commissioner to represent Delta State.

Abaribe had said: “Mr. President, in seconding this motion, we have dealt with this matter of the nomination of Lauretta Onochie.

“So, we feel surprised that the same name has resurfaced, no longer as a national commissioner, but as a Delta State Commissioner.

“Mr. President, reluctantly, I second the motion that these nominations be referred to the relevant committee for action and we shall meet in Philippines.”

Responding to Abaribe’s observation, the Senate President made clarifications on Onochie’s nomination.

“The nominees are not state resident electoral commissioners, they are national commissioners.

“And there was no change of request, so they are not resident electoral commissioners,”Lawan explained.

President Buhari’s confirmation request was, thereafter, referred by the Senate President to the Committee on INEC.

The Committee, chaired by Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano South) would be expected to screen the nominees and report back to the upper chamber in two weeks.

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