A PRESIDENTIAL nominee for Federal Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Lauretta Onochie said she discontinued her membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) shortly after the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
“Like I said, as from 2019, after President Muhammad Buhari was reelected, my duties in politics ended and it stopped. And all my concern thereafter was to support Mr. President,” Onochie said when she appeared before the Senate Committee on INEC for screening on Thursday.
Onochie, a personal assistant to the president on social media, was nominated along with five others by President Muhammadu Buhari as national commissioners of the INEC, but many Nigerians, including civil society organisations (CSOs), are insisting that the National Assembly should not confirm her.
Contrary to her claim, she announced in June 2020 to her teeming followers via her verified Twitter account of an impending ‘e-NEC meeting’ of the APC.
“There is DEFINITELY an APC e-NEC meeting TOMORROW,” she said,
“We are going through a growth process. Thank you, everyone.”
This post, therefore, contradicts Onochie’s claim that her duties in politics ended after the 2019 election. Also, there is no public evidence that she left the APC after Buhari’s re-election.
Also, her claim contradicts the court affidavit she deposed to in an ongoing libel suit she filed before an Abuja Federal High Court in 2016.
In papers she filed in a libel suit before a High Court in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, Onochie confirmed that she was actively involved in politics. She also said she was a ‘volunteer at the Buhari Support Organisation (BSO),’ a political think-tank that helped in coordinating Buhari’s election campaigns in 2015 and 2019.
In the suit marked CV/852/16, Onochie sought N1 billion in damages against one Emeka Ugwuonye.
She accused the defendant of defaming her when he referred to her as a trafficker of young girls for international prostitution, in a Facebook post made on January 21, 2016.
“I am also engaged in active politics and a member of the Neighbourhood Watch and has also contested the local government elections under the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom,” she said, while declaring that the words used in the said Facebook post, which she reproduced in the suit, had brought her reputation to public ridicule.
“I am also a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a volunteer at the Buhari Support Group,” Onochie added.
The controversial presidential aide further maintained that she was an educationist, who had served as headmistress of Aunt Margaret International School, Calabar, and Principal of Holy Child Secondary School, Calabar. She also said she had worked at the Epping Forest College Essex, United Kingdom.
According to Premium Times, the suit was amended and refiled on March 8, 2017.
She adopted all her claims during cross-examination by the court in 2020.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan had earlier this month directed the Senate Committee on INEC to commence the process that would lead to Onochie’s confirmation despite stiff opposition from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and CSOs over her involvement in partisan politics.