The fate of two out of the six nominees for the position of national commissioner of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) whose names were forwarded to the Senate for confirmation by President Muhammadu Buhari last year hangs in the balance as the upper chamber receives the report of its committee on INEC on Wednesday.
The two nominees are a presidential aide, Ms. Lauretta Onochie, and Professor Sani Adam.
Blaze Newz gathered that the Senate committee will make the final decision on the two nominees latest by Tuesday before forwarding its recommendations to the upper chamber the following day.
The Senate will on Wednesday make a final decision on whether or not Onochie and Adam should be confirmed along with four others as INEC commissioners in view of the petitions written against their nominations.
Buhari had on October 12, 2020, nominated Onochie and others as INEC national commissioners and their names forwarded to the Senate for confirmation.
The list of the nominees was forwarded last month by the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, to the Senate Committee on INEC for screening.
But the nomination of Onochie elicited reactions from stakeholders who accused her of being a card-carrying member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The committee last Thursday screened the six nominees during which Onochie claimed she stopped being a member of the APC shortly after the re-election of Buhari in 2019.
Her denial was despite swearing to an affidavit at an Abuja High court in June 2021 affirming her membership of the ruling party.
Blaze Newz findings at the weekend revealed that the committee met again last Friday to look at the resumé of all the six nominees with a view to writing its report being presented at Senate plenary on Wednesday.
It was discovered that apart from Onochie whose nomination was petitioned against by some stakeholders, including the national leadership of the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), there was another petition against another nominee, Prof. Sani Adam.
In the petition against Onochie, the petitioner quoted Section 156(1)(a) and the provisions of the Third Schedule, Part 1, item F, paragraph14(1) of 1999 Constitution as altered, which requires that a national commissioner shall be non-partisan and a person of unquestionable integrity.
While the petition against the nomination of Onochie was over her alleged membership of the APC, the one against Adam was over his reported dismissal as a lecturer in the University of Jos in 2007.
The petitioners were said to have alleged that Adam was dismissed over improper behaviour.
But the Appeal Court judgment in his case with the University of Jos sighted by showed that the university dismissed him in pursuance of the policy of the federal government reform in ministries, parastatals, and agencies through a letter dated 21st May, 2007 but served on the respondent on 13th June, 2007.
Adam challenged the dismissal at the Federal High Court, Jos Judicial Division seeking to void the termination and payment of all due salaries and allowances.
The Federal High Court in a considered judgment on 6th June 2008 gave him judgment and availed him his prayers.
But the university appealed the judgment on 14th October 2011.
Justice Raphael Agbo in the lead judgment upheld the appeal by the university and quashed the decision of the lower court.
The other four INEC National Commissioner-nominees, who don’t have any petition against their candidature are Prof. Muhammad Kallah (Katsina); Prof. Kunle Ajayi (Ekiti); Mr. Saidu Ahmad (Jigawa); and Dr. Baba Bila (North East).
The committee, sources said, would meet again latest by Tuesday (tomorrow) to look into the petitions and recommend accordingly in its report before presenting it to the Senate at the plenary Wednesday.
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