Topnaija.ng can Confirm that the presidential campaign organization of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDPPCO) yesterday kicked against the appointment of Mrs. Amina Zakari as chairman of the Advisory Committee and Presidential Election Collation Centre Committee.
It said Mrs. Zakari, being a blood relation of President Muhammadu Buhari, cannot be trusted to head such a sensitive position in the operation line of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
But INEC said the PDPPCO got its information wrong as Mrs. Zakari had not been given any role to head the commission’s Presidential Election Collation Centre.
The body, reacting to the PDP’s claim, said: “This information is false. She is in charge of setting up the Situation Room and National Collation Center for the upcoming elections. This includes, creating a conducive environment for national and international election observers, INEC staff and CSO’s for the duration of election activities.
“The chairman of the INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, had at a media briefing in Abuja yesterday, unveiled Mrs. Zakari as chairperson of the committee.”
At a media briefing in Abuja yesterday, PDPPCO spokesman Kola Ologbondiyan described the appointment as “another heinous machination” by President Buhari and the INEC to rig the February 16 presidential election and subvert the will of the people.
He alleged that the choice of Zakari was meant to skew the electoral process in favour of President Buhari.
Ologbondiyan said: “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 realised 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.”
INEC denied this, saying Mrs Zakari is in charge of setting up the Situation Room.
Ologbondiyan went on: “The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organisation (PDPPCO) outright, 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.”
PDP alleged that Mrs Zakari headed the ICT Department of INEC when that department was accused of manipulating the voter register.
PDP urged the United Nations (UN) and other global democratic institutions to take “copious note of this noxious appointment” by the INEC Chairman.
“The PDP remains committed to a peaceful and credible process, but we will never, in any way, allow anybody to use any means, under any guise whatsoever, to rig us out in this election. Not after it is clear that Nigerians have attained a consensus to rally behind our presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, as their next president, Ologbondiyan said, adding:
“All we ask for is a free, fair, credible and transparent electoral process in which the votes of Nigerians will not only count but will be seen to have counted.
“Like Mr. President said during his 2019 budget presentation at the National Assembly, the world is watching us.”
Social Democratic Party (SDP) chieftain Prof. Rufai Alkali and Kwara State Labour governorship candidate Issa Aremu said there was nothing wrong in the appointment of Zakari.
Fielding questions during Channels TV programme “Political Discourse” the duo said what the country needs at the moment was to building confidence and not partisanship.
Alkali noted that if the appointment had come much earlier, Nigerians would not raise eye brows, adding that Nigerians should look at the issues the elections would present.
He said what was important was to look at the larger picture of what INEC was going to achieve by ensuring the election was free, fair and transparent.
Alakali said: “We should be mindful of what we do and support the commission to achieve its primary duties. We don’t need to be disagreeing. Otherwise, it would have negative effect on INEC output.
“Those who have been appointed to the advisory commission are tested, the individuals are also tested. Virtually we are going into the practical environment now. Every decision, every action by any agency will definitely show manifest.”
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