The opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has demanded the removal of the newly appointed acting chairperson of the Independent national Electoral Commission, INEC, Amina Zakari.
Ms. Zakari was appointed as head of INEC by President Muhammadu Buhari hours after its former chairman, Attahiru Jega, handed over to Ahmed Wali, a national commissioner there.
Addressing a press conference in his office Wednesday, PDP’s publicity secretary, Olisa Metuh, said the party was disturbed by the development in INEC where Mr. Buhari, who knew all along that the immediate-past INEC Chairman, Mr. Jega, would be leaving office by June 30, but had to wait for him to handover to one of the national commissioners only to reverse it immediately, thereby injecting bad blood in the commission.
“The situation in INEC since the PDP government reformed and granted it operational autonomy has been peaceful, but Tuesday’s untidy overruling of Prof. Jega and appointing of Mrs. Amina Zakari as acting chairman which, we gathered was influenced by personal relationship with the Presidency and one of the new governors of the North West, ostensibly to pave the way for the APC at the electoral tribunals, has completely eroded public trust in the commission,” he said.
Mr. Metuh said although the PDP recognizes the right and powers of the President to appoint the Chairman of INEC and others, such as that of the Accountant General of the Federation, AGF, which was done recently, he said the party rejects attempts to paint the process as transparent and objective when such was not the case.
“In INEC, the PDP states in unequivocal terms that we cannot, as critical stakeholders, fold our hands and watch while the Presidency perpetuate actions that diminish the independence of the electoral commission.
“The PDP has declared the appointment of Mrs. Amina Zakari as unacceptable and demands that President Buhari changes her immediately,” he said.
The PDP spokesperson said due process was not observed in Mrs. Zakari’s appointment and that “Mrs. Zakari has shown in the last elections that she is manifestly biased in favour of the APC”.
Mr. Metuh said the appointment smirks of nepotism.
Mr. Metuh also said since the APC appeared to have trusted the ex Chairman of INEC, Mr. Jega, and commended him for conducting free and fair elections, “why would they not trust him on who to hold forth in the commission until a substantive Chairman is appointed, rather than appointing someone who is retiring from the commission in the next three weeks?”