By Martin Paul, Abuja
The family of a National Commissioner at the Independent National Electoral Commision (INEC), Amina Zakari, has explained its relationship with that of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying there are no blood ties between her and the president.
This follows the furore that has been generated following her appointment as head of INEC’s collation centre in the 2019 general election.
President Buhari had earlier dismissed the claim that he was related to Zakari, in a statement.
In a statement issued yesterday, and signed by Isah Zakari, for the family, the family, lamented that there was a campaign of calumny against their daughter, orchestrated by those desirous of pulling her down.
The statement read: “We ordinarily will not join issues with any political party, newspaper or media organisation because we will not want to constitute an impediment to the discharge of their constitutionally guaranteed responsibilities. It is, therefore, a very tough decision to react to the blatant lies told against our mother, daughter and sister, Mrs. Amina Zakari.
“We have taken this decision in firm belief that this clarification will put to rest the ceaseless campaign of calumny orchestrated to pull her down. Amina Zakari is a patriotic Nigeria who has served her country faithfully and honestly for years without blemish. We are therefore pained by the report that portrays Amina Zakari working to sabotage INEC’s firm determination to advance the democratic journey by creating a conducive atmosphere for citizens to exercise their voting rights.
“Contrary to the widespread belief, Amina Zakari is not a blood relation of President Muhammadu Buhari. Her mother was from Daura (born and bred in Kano) and she was not Buhari’s sister. It’s also true that Buhari’s sister was once married into the family. The union was short lived and did not produce a child. This all happened well before Mrs. Zakari was born. Furthermore, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, the veteran Kano politician who first made the claim that she was born by Buhari’s sister has since recanted. Those who have held on to the claim are therefore either unaware of his recantation or they are simply incapable of letting go their prejudices in the face of facts to the contrary.”
The family said it was laughable that Mrs. Zakari who was appointed National Commissioner by former President Goodluck Jonathan under a PDP government could no longer perform any function in INEC “ because she is a supposed relation of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
“The pieces of information being sold to the press about Mrs. Amina Zakari by the PDP are absolutely false, tendentious, malicious and highly reprehensible,” it added, emphasising that the accomplishments of the national commissioner rather than being reduced to “mere family ties” ought to be celebrated as an election expert.
“She has now served under 3 different President’s in various capacities and has served her nation in a forthright and honest manner with the utmost humility and much sacrifice,” the statement read. She is one of the most accomplished election experts in Nigeria with 2 elections under her belt (2011,2015).
“What is unfortunate is instead of celebrating an accomplished woman to support diversity in our polity and groom our future female leaders, we are stuck on belittling Mrs. Zakari’s accomplishments to mere familial ties. If we begin to harangue and harass our officials for family ties (which they do not control) over competence we shall have no one to serve.
“Enough is enough leave our mother, daughter, sister alone to serve the nation as she has done so diligently over her life and career.”