By Gabriel Atumeyi
The presidency has reacted to the allegation that the appointment of Amina Zakari alleged to be the niece of the president as the Chairperson of INEC Advisory Committee and Presidential Election Collation Centre Committee was a move aimed at orchestrating the outcome of the forthcoming presidential election in favour of the APC.
In a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja by Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, the presidency said that the PDP were only out to score a cheap politcal point, that her appointment was based purely on merit, adding that the President and Amina Zakari do not share any direct ties of kinship.
“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has continued their baseless accusations regarding Hajiya Amina Zakari, a commissioner in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) accusing her of partiality and casting doubts about her integrity as an electoral commissioner.
“In their desperation, they forget that it was the PDP government that appointed her in the first place and they keep lying, as they have been caught doing on so many issues, by imputing a blood relationship between her and President Muhammadu Buhari.
“President Buhari and Commissioner Amina Zakari don’t share a family relationship. An inter-marriage occurred in their extended families, so the imputation of blood relationship between the President and the electoral commissioner is a simple lie. What is even more curious about all the fuss coming from the PDP is that they, as a ruling party picked Mrs Zakari, judging her by her own merit and made her an electoral commissioner.
“She served so well with distinction as can be verified from the records that President Buhari approved the recommendation that she be reappointed, as he did other PDP nominees for second-term of four years.
The presidency further disclosed that she was a hard working professional and such appointment was befitting.
” PDP, therefore, has no moral right to keep harassing this hardworking mother unless they have a hidden agenda.
By this statement, the PDP is guilty of scoring an own goal and two, of harassing an innocent citizen on the basis of a lie, pure and simple.
In a related development, The Independent National Electoral Commission has reacted to criticisms over the appointment, speaking yesterday on Channel Television’s Sunrise Daily, the director of voter education and publicity at INEC, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said Mrs Zakari’s role as head of the collection center committee has nothing to do with actual collation of votes.
He said only the chairman of INEC, who is the returning officer for presidential election, decides the validity of votes, adding that Mrs Zakari was appointed because she was in charge of welfare, and the role of the collation committee is to be in charge of the physical structure of the International Conference Center (ICC).
According to Mr Uzzi, Mrs Zakari was suitable for the position having been involved in negotiating for the use of the centre in 2015.