Of Lauretta Onochie's Nomination And Matters Arising By Frank Ofili - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Of Lauretta Onochie's Nomination And Matters Arising By Frank Ofili

Whatever anyone may think about Lauretta Onochie’s nomination as INEC commissioner, I personally think that her uprightness and characteristic strong will is exactly what is needed at INEC, especially in our polity where politicians use all sorts of crooked means to win election

Lauretta is not one to push around and she can take on anybody without batting an eye (ask Alhaji Atiku Abubakar). You may say she is stubborn but she is a woman of strong will and conviction and never afraid to work alone. No one can also validly accuse her of not being patriotic.

Opposition to her nomination has mainly been based on her membership of the APC and the fact that she is President Buhari's aide.

I Will not talk on the first. Hopefully, the Senate will take care of that accordingly to the constitution and the upper chamber’s guiding rule. For now, nobody knows if Lauretta would still be a member of APC at the time of her screening by the Senate. What I know is that if we take a roll call of INEC top guns today, we may discover that there is not one of them who does not have political sympathy for one party or another. Unless we want to deceive ourselves.

On being personal aide of Buhari, I want to ask, exactly how does this disqualify her from holding a public office? Buhari is not going for a third term for anyone to insinuate that he is planning to plant Lauretta at INEC to do his bidding.

Buhari should have no apologies nominating his personal aide for public office. Though decency, morality and public expectation may dictate otherwise, this is not Holy Writ. There is no law barring presidential aides from being nominated for public offices.

There is nothing wrong, or unlawful, in my view, in a president appointing his/her friend, aide or even family member to public office, provided the person is qualified for the job and is patriotic to the country and loyal to the constitution.

US President John Kennedy, appointed his own brother, Bob, as his Attorney General. When the American media at the time took him up on the appointment, John Kennedy had five questions for them. He asked:

1. Is Bob an American?
2. Is he qualified for the job?
3. Does he have a right to be appointed to public office?
4. Is he patriotic?
5. Can I as President of the United States trust him to make decisions in the best interest of America?

All the answers checked out positively and Bob Kennedy was confirmed as Attorney General in his brother John Kennedy’s administration. 

Not long ago, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, appointed his brother, John Johnson, to his cabinet. The British people did not have an axe to grind with him on that score

So, as did Kennedy of the US, I pose the same questions to those who oppose Lauretta’s nomination. Is she a Nigerian? Is she qualified for the job she has been mominated for? Does she have a right to be appointed to public office? Is she patriotic?

Buhari is not the first to walk this path in our clime. Nor will he be the last. Former Presidents Obasanjo and Jonathan did it. Governor Wike did it. Okorocha, as governor of Imo State, did it. Okorocha in fact raised it a notch higher. He wanted his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, to succeed him.

The wife of opposition PDP chieftain and former Governor of Rivers State, Peter Odili, is currently sitting pretty at the Supreme Court. She sat in cases involving PDP and never recused herself. What do we say to that?

If you did not object to all these, why should you object to Buhari nominating his aide to public office?

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