Nigeria’s opposition politicians and sections of the general public are up against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), following the appointment of a nationwide commissioner, Amina Zakari, because the chairperson of the nationwide collation centre for Nigeria’s coming presidential election.
INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, introduced Mrs. Zakari’s appointment on Thursday, sparking reactions from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, the Coalition of United Political Parties and members of the general public who’ve individually questioned the readiness of INEC for a reputable ballot.
The opposition to Mrs. Zakari’s appointment to move the collation centre on the International Conference Centre – the place summing of results from the 36 states and the FCT after which return can be made – is hinged on the purported blood tie between her and President Muhammadu Buhari, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress.
“It is now fairly obvious that the @inecnigeria Chairman is making selections that can’t in any respect be INDEPENDENT,” tweeted Oby Ezekwesili of the ACPN Thursday night time. “How on this planet can @inecnigeria (appoint) Amina Zakari – niece of @MBuhari – as its Head of Collation Center? Are the INEC Chairman &President prepared for the grave consequence?”
Both PDP and CUPP have equally known as Mrs. Zakari “Buhari’s niece” and described her new appointment as “an outright manipulation” and a “plot by the INEC to rig the 2019 presidential election in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
But what’s the reality? Is Amina Zakari Muhammadu Buhari’s niece?
Contrary to the claims by the opposition, there is no such thing as a proof that Mrs. Zakari is Mr. Buhari’s organic niece or that each individuals share any blood tie.
The relevant relationship between the duo, nonetheless, as obtainable proof present, is that of a step-niece and a step-uncle. Both people are deeply shut, having a relationship spanning a number of a long time; in truth, all their lives!
Mrs. Zakari is a princess of Kazaure Emirate, Jigawa State. She was born in 1960 to the household of the late Emir of Kazaure, Husseini Adamu, additionally the daddy of the current Emir Najib Adamu and the current Minister for Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu.
According to our findings based mostly on interviews with individuals with information of the connection, Mr. Buhari’s elder sister was married to the late Emir, the daddy of Mrs. Zakari. Mr. Buhari was stated to have spent a part of his childhood within the palace the place her sister was married.
However, Mrs. Zakari was no organic daughter of Mr. Buhari’s elder sister, however a stepdaughter. The elder Buhari raised Mrs. Zakari in addition to his youthful brother, the water assets minister, which then facilitated a deep, blood tie-like relationship between the 2 Kazaure royals and Mr. Buhari.
Mrs. Zakari, a pharmacist, was a lead marketing consultant with Afri-Project Consortium, the defunct agency, then, dealing with Petroleum Trust Fund tasks under Mr. Buhari as the pinnacle. Between 1994 and 1999, Mrs. Zakari was in control of the PTF well being tasks.
Similarly, her minister brother, Mr. Adamu, was additionally with Mr. Buhari on the PTF via the Afri-Project Consortium. The new Emir of Kazaure, Najib, was additionally the legal adviser on the PTF whereas Mr Buhari was head of the Fund under the previous dictator, Sani Abacha.
Mrs. Zakari was between 2004 and 2007 an assistant to President Olusegun Obasanjo, posted to the Federal Capital Territory Administration.
In 2011, she was appointed a nationwide electoral commissioner, representing the northwest, by President Goodluck Jonathan of PDP.
When Attahiru Jega retired from INEC in 2015, the professor of political science who launched the digital accreditation course of utilizing PVC and sensible card reader, handed over to Ahmed Wali.
However, in a dramatic twist, Mr. Buhari intervened, overruling Mr. Jega, and appointing Mrs. Zakari appearing INEC chairperson.
The president would later appoint Mr. Yakubu because the substantive head of the electoral fee, buckling under public stress.
At least two individuals have advised this newspaper Mr. Buhari really helpful Mrs. Zakari for Mr. Jonathan to nominate as a nationwide commissioner in 2011.
While it isn’t true that each the president and Mrs. Zakari share any blood tie, they’ve a deep relationship, which in lots of African household setting is pretty much as good in definition as organic relations, even when it now seems extra as a godfather-goddaughter relationship.
What position is there for Mrs. Zakari within the election?
From public response, it seems many, including the opposition, imagine Mrs. Zakari can be in control of results collation on the nationwide collation centre.
“It is evident that the Presidency has efficiently put a leash on the neck of the INEC Chairman and he has by this appointment relinquished a most crucial component of his job because the Presidential election returning officer to an celebration,” CUPP stated.
INEC, nonetheless, says Mrs. Zakari’s position entails not more than heading amenities and welfare dealing with on the International Conference Centre, venue of the collation.
In the phrases of the INEC chairman, Mr. Yakubu, the remit of Mrs. Zakari’s committee is to deal with amenities such as energy, entry to the web, reside transmission for nationwide and worldwide media, in addition to accreditation for entry to the ICC and security of the venue.
By Nigeria’s legislation, Mr. Yakubu is the returning officer for the presidential election and so can be accountable for the collation of results from completely different states and the FCT.
But analysts say even when Mrs Zakari doesn’t take cost of the particular collation, it is a matter that INEC is surprisingly not delicate figuring out her relationship with Mr. Buhari, a candidate within the election, and the emotions many have concerning Mrs. Zakari and the 2019 presidential ballot.