Lauretta Onochie, aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, is often the subject of news headlines — and most times for controversial reasons. Buhari first appointed the 66-year-old native of Delta state in 2016 as his special assistant on social media.
In October 2020, Buhari asked the senate to confirm Onochie as a commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The appointment was met with stiff pushback and criticisms from various parties and stakeholders.
Many opposed the nomination on the grounds that Onochie is partisan and a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Eight months after the nomination, Onochie is still fighting to establish that she is qualified and right for the job.
When Onochie eventually appeared before the committee on Thursday, Onochie said contrary to public claims, she does not belong to any political party.
She said she quit politics in 2019, adding that the attacks that trailed her nomination as a commissioner for the electoral body is because she is “madam due process”.
However, despite claiming to have dumped politics, Onochie championed the cause of the APC in June 2020 via her ‘theatre of war’ — Twitter.
Since joining Buhari’s team, Onochie has used the microblogging platform to position herself as a staunch defender of her principal. In several instances, she has engaged in tugs of war with people who criticised Buhari or his policies.
In August 2020, David Oyedepo, presiding bishop of the Living Faith Church Worldwide, had rejected the application of Company and Allied Matters Acts (CAMA) in churches, arguing that it is borne of out the government’s jealousy of the prosperity recorded by the church.
Commenting on Oyedepo’s stance, Onochie had said the cleric would have to abide by the government’s law or manufacture his own country.
“I hope this is not true. If it is, Oyedepo will have to manufacture his own country and live by his own laws,” Onochie wrote in a tweet.
“As long as he lives and operates within the entity called Nigeria, he will live by Nigerian rules and laws. He will do as he’s told by the law. Enough of lawlessness.”
You will remember vividly the ‘tigress’ took the jaw war to multiple-award winning singer, Wizkid in October 2020.
It all started after the ‘jaiye jaiye’ crooner criticized Buhari for wishing ex-President Donald Trump a “quick recovery from COVID-19” amid the tension in Nigeria.
Reacting to Wizkid’s comment, Onochie described the artiste as a “dumbkid”, saying he exhibited crass ignorance and childishness in the way he addressed the president.
In a swift reply, Wizkid slammed Onochie, saying she should be “ashamed of herself”.
Onochie’s sharp claws have also been used against the likes of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, who she once said was paranoid and should receive mental treatment while she would also describe Ibraheem El-Zakzaky of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) as a leader of a terrorist group.
While her attack-minded verbal savagery is well known on social media, Onochie now finds herself on the defensive in real life as she seeks to convince the senate committee to give her the nod to become an INEC commissioner.