Reactions have continued to trail Thursday’s appointment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s niece, Amina Zakari as head of the Collation Center for the 2019 elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Reacting to Zakari’s appointment, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the appointment reiterated the party’s recent claim that President Buhari was determined to rig himself back into power.
In a press statement issued by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said the appointment was a deliberate attempt by INEC and the Presidency to rig the 2019 polls and subvert the will of millions of Nigerians.
“We have called you up again today to alert Nigerians of another heinous machination by the Buhari Presidency and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to subvert the will of the people and rig the February 16, Presidential election.
“You will recall that we have been raising the flag on how the Buhari Presidency, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and some individuals at the echelon of INEC have been seeking ways to compromise our electoral processes and open the way for the allocation of fictitious votes to President Muhammadu Buhari, having realized that he cannot win in a credible, free and fair polls.
“Today, we have been informed that the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, apparently in furtherance of the plots to rig the Presidential election, has appointed Mrs. Amina Zakari, a blood relation (niece) of the APC candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari as the Chairperson of INEC Advisory Committee and Presidential election Collation Center Committee.
“The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organization (PPCO) outrightly, vehemently and unequivocally rejects, in its entirety, the appointment of Mrs. Amina Zakari, President Buhari’s blood relation as the head of the collation of results in the same election in which his uncle, President Buhari, as a candidate has displayed a huge desperation to win.
“The appointment of Mrs. Amina Zakari, who had been openly accused in various quarters as being the link person between INEC and the Buhari Presidency in their schemes to rig the election for President Buhari, constitutes a direct violence against the Presidential election and the PDP will not, in any way, whatsoever accept it.
“This is the same Amina Zakari who headed the ICT Department of INEC at the time that department was accused of manipulating the INEC voter register to accommodate fictitious, underage and alien voters particularly in remote areas where they plan to allocate and announce conjured votes for President Buhari and the APC.
“It will interest Nigerians to note that this is the same Amina Zakari that was alleged to have played some roles in the 2018 governorship election in Osun state, where the electoral processes were flagrantly abused.
“In appointing Mrs. Amina Zakari to head the collation of this Presidential election, Prof. Yakubu has confirmed that he has been compromised and that he has already succumbed to pressure by the Buhari Presidency and APC to open the way for the self-succession of President Buhari.
“The fact remains that there is no way Amina Zakari will not allocate votes to her blood relation, President Buhari, whom Nigerians have indicated clearly that they are not ready to return to office as President.
“With Amina Zakari at the head of results collation, there is no way votes cast by Nigerians will count.
“We, therefore, call on all Nigerians and particularly the National Peace Committee to note that with the appointment of Amina Zakari, as head the collation of Presidential results, the INEC Chairman is setting the stage for a very huge political crisis which is capable of derailing our democratic process.
“We also urge the United Nations and other global democratic institutions to take copious note of this noxious appointment by the INEC Chairman. If the INEC Chairman wants a peaceful Presidential election, he should, with the speed of light, reverse himself on this appointment.
“In fact, the PPCO reiterates its position that for us to have a peaceful election, Mrs. Amina Zakari should not be seen anywhere near any of the 2019 election processes, not to talk of being involved in the collation of Presidential results,” the statement read.
Similarly, the apex Igbo socio-political group, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo on Thursday strongly condemned Mrs. Zakari’s appointment, urging her to resign from the Commission because she was related to President Buhari.
The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, who stated this while speaking to journalists called on Nigerians to hold INEC and the Federal Government responsible if anything happens to the nation’s democracy.
Nwodo stressed that it was bad enough that Mrs. Zakari was allowed to continue to serve in the electoral body, adding that the situation has been worsened by her appointment into the new position.
His words: “It’s like Rangers versus Kano Pillars and Kano Pillars is allowed to nominate a referee. It’s impossible for justice to be done. In a civilized clime, Amina Zakari should have resigned.
“I expected the APC government, having come to power through a free and fair election conducted by another president, they should not destroy the history. I call on Amina Zakari to honourably resign.
“Whatever happens to our democracy tomorrow, they should hold themselves responsible.
“With continued membership of Mrs. Zakari in the Commission, the corporate personality of INEC is seriously whittled down. Making her head of collation committee is worse than anything anybody can imagine,” he added.
Also, the presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili has kicked against Mrs. Zakari’s appointment, saying that there would be grave consequences over the development.
Reacting to Zakari’s appointment on Thursday, Ezekwesili tweeted: “It is now quite obvious that the @inecnigeria Chairman is making decisions that cannot at all be INDEPENDENT.
“How in the world can @inecnigeria appoint Amina Zakari – niece of @MBuhari – as its Head of Collation Center? Are the INEC Chairman &President ready for the grave consequence?”