A new twist has been added to the controversy surrounding the appointment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s alleged niece and INEC National Commissioner, Amina Zakari, as chairman of the National Collation Centre Committee, as a non-governmntal organisation on Sunday disclosed that the husband of the INEC official is the All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial candidate in Bauchi South Senatorial election.
In a press conference in Abuja on Sunday, the NGO, Accord Women and Youth Initiative, therefore demanded the immediate resignation of Zakari due to what it termed as conflict of interest.
“Mrs Amina Zakari who is not only a blood relative of the incumbent, President Mohammed Buhari but also married to the APC senatorial candidate of Bauchi South. Therefore by consanguinity and affinity her hands are tied,” Esther Opaluwah, Executive Director, Accord Women and Youth Initiative, said.
According to the group, the INEC official has failed the neutrality and impartial test, especially on her antecedents in the immediate past elections in the South West where she was in charge of electoral operations and logistics.
This comes as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alerted the National Peace Committee, the United Nations and all world leaders to immediately call President Buhari to order and ensure peaceful, free, fair and credible general elections in February.
Addressing journalists on Sunday in Abuja, Kola Ologbondiyan, Director, Media & Publicity, PDP Presidential Campaign Organization (PPCO), accused the Presidency of overheating the polity with manipulations of INEC, muzzling of free speech and escalated clampdown on opposition and Civil Society Organizations.
According to him, there is no way peace can be guaranteed without a free and fair election with Zakari as head of the National Collation Centre Committee.
“President Buhari’s insistence on having his relation in charge of collation of Presidential election results is completely provocative, a direct affront to the sensibilities of Nigerians and express invitation to crisis of epic proportion, which is capable of truncating the entire electoral process and derailing our hard-earned democracy.
“The world is aware that majority of Nigerians have rejected Mrs. Amina Zakari. Over 90 percent of the political parties in the election, as well as major political and socio-cultural groups across the country have also called for her resignation from INEC, yet President Buhari is insisting on her stay in the commission.
“Our party is aware of plots by the Buhari Presidency to use Amina Zakari, who has been mentioned as part of those involved in the rigging of 2018 governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states, to plunge the 2019 general elections into controversies, truncate the flow of results and even render elections in some critical states inconclusive, to pave way for allocation of fictitious votes to President Buhari and the APC.
“We want the National Peace Committee and the entire world to know that as long as Amina Zakari is in INEC, a peaceful election is not guaranteed because she has the mandate to abuse the process and this will not be accepted by Nigerians.
“The PPCO therefore calls on the National Peace Committee to immediately speak out on the impropriety of having Amina Zakari in INEC as well as insist on her removal so that we can have a credible and peaceful Presidential election,” Ologbondiyan said.
The party also alerted the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen of plot to use the police to clamp down on opposition figures on trumped-up criminal charges.