Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC-Kano South) has stated that President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide Lauretta Onochie was not rejected for being a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Speaking to newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, Gaya said lawmaker studied the mood of Nigerians” before making its final report on Onochie becoming INEC commissioner.
Gaya, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), maintained that the 62-year-old female politician was rejected because Delta State already has a representative.
He said, “We couldn’t 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.”
The Senator said the committee did not rely on the submissions of Onochie when she told them that Agbamuche-Mbu was actually representing Cross River State on the board of INEC.
“President Buhari actually specified her (Agbamuche-Mbu) state, which is Delta, in the letter,” he said.
“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.”
On her membership of the APC, Gaya said the committee could not disqualify Onochie based on the records before it.
He said, “Madam Onochie has said she has ceased to be a member of the APC.
“The law said we can only disqualify a card-carrying member of a political party and since she denied her APC membership, we cannot hold that against her.”