President Muhammadu Buhari has rubbished beliefs that he appointed Mrs Amina Zakari as acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in order to reward her for being loyal to his presidential ambition while serving as INEC National Electoral Commissioner.
It was also reported that Zakari is a daughter of the Emir of Kazaure Alhaji Najib Adamu of Jigawa State who is a blood relation of the Buharis of Daura in Katsina State.
Peoples Democratic Party spokesperson, Olisa Metuh corroborated the source when he said on Wednesday during a press briefing.
He said: “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.”
But reacting to the allegation, President Muhammadu Buhari said he had constitutional powers to choose the head of INEC, and that Mrs. Zakari’s appointment was based on merit and sensitivity to gender equality.
The statement, signed by spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said allegations by the PDP were “falsehoods contrived by Mr. Metuh to unjustly denigrate a President popularly elected by Nigerians to undo the damage done to the nation by years of PDP rule”.
His full statement reads:
We have noted with regret, the latest tirade against President Muhammadu Buhari issued today by the PDP’s Spokesman, Mr Olisa Metuh.
Other than boring reporters at his press conference with a rehash of baseless allegations of inaction against the President, Mr Metuh clearly had nothing new to say apart from his charge of nepotism and partisanship in the appointment of the Acting INEC Chairman, which also lacks any factual foundation.
President Buhari certainly did not “overrule” Prof. Attahiru Jega in appointing Mrs Amina Zakari as the Acting INEC Chairman, as Mr Metuh alleged.
Prof. Jega’s purported handing over to another Commissioner cannot be construed as an “appointment” because only the President has the constitutional authority, which he exercised to appoint Mrs Zakari as acting Chairman of INEC.
Contrary to Mr Metuh’s allegations, President Buhari’s appointment of Mrs Zakari as Acting INEC Chariman was based entirely on merit, her vast experience in the internal operations of INEC and the President’s commitment to affirmative action in support of gender equality, because, apart from being fully qualified for the position, Mrs Zakari was the only woman among the six Commissioners considered.
Due Process was certainly followed in Mrs Zakari’s appointment. Mr Metuh’s spurious claims of her appointment having been influenced by “personal relationship with the Presidency” and a Governor in the North-West “to pave the way for the APC” at election tribunals should be disregarded by the public.
The allegations are nothing but falsehoods contrived by Mr Metuh to unjustly denigrate a President popularly elected by Nigerians to undo the damage done to the nation by years of PDP rule.
His claim that the PDP has rejected Mrs Zakari’s appointment is also laughable after he had admitted that the right and power of the President to make such appointments cannot be questioned.