Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 2 July 2015 | 3,545 times
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Presidency late yesterday exchanged words over the appointment, on Tuesday, of Amina Zakari as Acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
PDP described the appointment as unacceptable, accusing President Muhammadu Buhari of nepotism, and demanded that the appointment be reversed with immediate effect.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, PDP Spokesman Olisah Metuh, said: “PDP is particularly disturbed by the development in INEC where President Buhari, who knew all along that the immediate-past INEC chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, would be leaving office by June 30, had to wait for him to hand over to one of the national commissioners only to reverse it immediately, thereby injecting bad blood in the commission.”
Metuh added that the situation in INEC since the PDP government reformed and granted it operational autonomy has been peaceful, alleging that the overruling of Prof. Jega by appointing Mrs. Amina Zakari as acting chairman was influenced by personal relationship with the Presidency.
Metuh further claimed that Zakari was biased in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last general elections, adding that she is a threat to the PDP, and could be used to work against its interest at the tribunal and next year’s gubernatorial election in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
Responding to the allegations, Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity) Femi Adesina, said in a statement last night: “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.”
•Photo shows Amina Zakari.
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