Prof Attahiru Jega, a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has asked the Senate not to confirm Lauretta Onochie as a National Commissioner of INEC.
Onochie, who was nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari, was among those screened at the upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly on Thursday.
Onochie’s nomination had sparked outrage from civil society groups, opposition lawmakers and even within the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Many have argued that she is “too partisan” to be a commissioner in an institution like INEC.
But Buhari has refused to withdraw the appointment of one of his aides despite the pressure.
When he featured on Sunday Politics, a Channels Television programme, Jega spoke on the controversy over Onochie’s nomination.
“This kind of controversy is really avoidable. Any person who generated such a controversy; the appointing authorities should be careful because you don’t want to appoint anybody that can raise suspicions or doubts or can lead to a loss of trust of the electoral management body,” he said.
He added that the president could withdraw Onochie’s nomination and replace her with another female from her state.
Electronic transfer of results
The former INEC chairman commended the National Assembly for taking steps to review the Electoral Amendment Act (2010) as amended but faulted the exclusion of electronic transfer of results.
He said the decision of the 9th Assembly to allow INEC to use electronic voting without the electronic transmission of results is counterproductive.
“You can’t permit INEC on one hand to use electronic voting and not use electronic transmission of results because usually, they go as a package,” he said.
“Once there is a robust software and hardware for doing so, it now brings efficiency, transparency and real time ability to see the result as they are transmitted from the polling unit to a National Collation Centre.”
Jega asked the National Assembly to diligently work to ensure that the Electoral Amendment Bill (2021) is appropriately amended before being passed.