INEC will not remove ‘Buhari’s relative’ Zakari as 2019 election collation chief
Despite upsurge of criticism from opposition elements in Nigeria against the appointment of Amina Zakari as election collation chief in the Nigeria’s February presidential election, there are indications that the electoral umpire will not disapprove Zakari’s appointment.
Zakari is reported to be a blood relation of incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari and presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
When Attahiru Jega resigned as the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in 2015, he handed over to Zakari as the most senior technocrat in the office until the appointment of Mamhood Yakubu as the substantive chairman of the Commission.
Private sources in the electoral body told our reporter that opposition’s ‘opinions’ would not force INEC to remove Zakari as the electoral result collation chief since she is the most qualified for the position.
But the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said Zakari’s relationship with Buhari could affect her objectivity in the discharge of her official responsibility.
The INEC reacted to opposition saying Zakari’s position would have affect the outcome of the election. But the INEC did not disprove Buhari’s relationship with Zakari.
The director of voter education and publicity at INEC, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said Mrs Zakari’s role as head of the collection center committee has nothing to do with actual collation of votes.
He said only the chairman of INEC, who is the returning officer for presidential election, decides the validity of votes.
Mr Uzzi said this Friday while speaking on Channel Television’s Sunrise Daily.
“The chairman of INEC by virtue of the Electoral Act is the returning officer of the country for the presidential election. It is he who decides the validity of votes and any issues in the election,” he said.
“The committee is primarily in charge of welfare. She was also very involved in negotiating with the ICC management in 2015 for the use of the facility so her duty is to ensure the facility is ready. She has no role whatsoever with the process of collation.”
Following Mrs Zakari’s appointment on Thursday, the PDP and the Coalition of United Political Party (CUPP) released statements rejecting her appointment and demanding her removal.