Lauretta Onochie

Lauretta Onochie, the personal assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on New Media denied being a member of the All Progressive Congress (APC).

Ms Onochie, 62, made the denial while appearing before the Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday.

She was nominated last year by her principal as one of the national commissioners of the electoral body but Nigerians, including the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are against her nomination for the position which requires a non-partisan individual.

The controversial aide is one of the foot soldiers of the ruling party but when screened on Thursday when she appeared before the panel she claimed to have left partisan politics after her principal was re-elected in 2019.

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Almost all the members of the committee, headed by Kabiru Gaya (APC Kano), questioned her integrity and partisanship, alongside petitions opposing against her confirmation which she claimed was because she always follows due process in discharging her duties.

“I have seen the petitions against me but I stand for justice and fairness. Thus nobody has anything to fear,” Ms Onochie said. “I am Madam Due Process and this is the reason behind my attacks, because I follow the law and due process.

“I have no partisanship bone in my body until I was invited to come and work with President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Since Buhari was elected as president for the second term, I have removed myself from everything politics. Since 2019, I don’t have anything to do with politics. As I am sitting down here, I am not a member of any political party in this country,” she added.

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Senators Yahaya Gumau (Bauchi South) and Bamidele Opeyemi (Ekiti North) who saw no reason Ms Onochie’s past should be used against her.

While Mr Gumau said the opposition to her nomination is based on sentiments, Mr Bamidele argued that the current INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, had worked for Mr Buhari in different capacities in the past and it did not count against him so Onochie’s own shouldn’t be different.

An affidavit circulating on social media indicates the presidential aide was being economically with the truth having recently affirmed on June 30, 2021 that she is still a member of the APC.

“I am also a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress and a volunteer at Buhari Support Organization (BSO),” she had sworn partly in the circulating document.

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The affidavit recently sworn by Onochie circulating on social media.

The committee is expected to submit its findings which will include recommendations either confirming or rejecting her nomination on another legislative day to the floor of the red chamber.

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