A Nigerian presidential aide, Lauretta Onochie has denied being a member of any political party in the country.
Onochie made the claims on Thursday when she appeared before a screening panel on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
Before now, Ms Onochie is a well-recognised elder of the Delta State branch of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC). It is however not clear if she has deregistered herself before the appointment or screening.
She has been a vocal and ardent supporter of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, the APC and a strong critic of the PDP and other opponents of the country’s leader.
She’s the presidential aide on new media and is being screened as an INEC commissioner.
The Nigerian leader nominated her for the role in October 2020 but the senate only began working on his request for her confirmation in June. Her nomination has widely been condemned by people on the grounds that she is partisan.
Last week, the leadership of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) staged a peaceful protest to the National Assembly to demand the rejection of Onochie.
“I’ve no partisanship in my blood. I have seen many petitions against my nomination not only from the PDP but also from some APC members,” she told members of the panel during the screening.
“I’m not partisan. They know. It is about the law. No one has any reason to fear for my nomination as INEC commissioner representing Delta. As far as I’m concerned, I’m madam due process. That’s why all the attacks. I follow due process, I follow the law.”
Dissatisfied lawmakers on the panel however demanded Onochie reject the nomination and “protect the integrity of the president”.
Istifanus Gyang, senator representing Plateau North, presented an affidavit in which Onochie had said she is an APC member.
Responding to the claims, she said “since Buhari was elected as president for the second term, I have removed myself from everything about 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.”
By Abel Ejikeme