Amina Zakari shares no family relationship with Buhari -Presidency

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No, she’s a moral burden on INEC and Buhari -Fayose

Mr. Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari has described as “mendacious” and “baseless” the claim by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) that Mrs. Amina Zakari is the president’s niece.

It would be recalled that the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been under severe criticism over Zakari’s appointment as the chairperson of the commission’s advisory committee and presidential election collation officer.

The PDP which described Zakari as Buhari’s niece said the appointment of the president’s relation to preside over the collation of votes from the presidential election was an apparent ploy to rig the 2019 presidential election in Buhari’s favour.

But Shehu said in a press statement in Abuja that PDP’s accusation is misplaced, pointing out that Zakari was not appointed by Buhari but rather by the former government of PDP.

He said her appointment, like the appointments of her fellow commissioners, was only renewed by the Buhari government.

The presidential aide who insisted that the PDP has no moral right to question Zakari’s integrity said: “In another mendacious press release, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has continued their baseless accusations regarding Hajiya Amina Zakari, a commissioner in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) accusing her of partiality and casting doubts about her integrity as an electoral commissioner.

“In their desperation, they forget that it was the PDP government that appointed her in the first place and they keep lying, as they have been caught doing on so many issues, by imputing a blood relationship between her and President Muhammadu Buhari.

“President Buhari and Commissioner Amina Zakari don’t share a family relationship. An inter-marriage occurred in their extended families, so the imputation of blood relationship between the President and the electoral commissioner is a simple lie.

“By this statement, the PDP is guilty of scoring an own goal and two, of harassing an innocent citizen on the basis of a lie, pure and simple.”

But the former governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, is not comfortable with the presidency’s defence saying the appointment is a manifestation of a desperate effort to rig the February 16 presidential election.

In a statement on Saturday by his media aide, Mr. Lere Olayinka, the former governor said with the doubt being raised over the ability of Zakari to be neutral in the election, “fairness and equity demand that she should step aside from playing any role in this election.

“When Amina Zakari was appointed as INEC national commissioner, President Buhari, her blood relation was not a presidential candidate.

“In fact, the president had even vowed never to run for the presidency after the 2011 election.

“Now that he is candidate and also a sitting president, fairness and equity demands that she should step aside from playing any role in this election.

“Certain things can be good, but might not morally right. This issue of Amina Zakari, a known blood relation of the APC presidential candidate functioning as INEC head of collation centre is morally wrong.

“Possibility of bias is being raised; INEC and the presidency should be reminded of the position of Lord Denning on how the issue of likelihood of bias should be viewed.

“Even if Amina Zakari can be as impartial as she can be, nevertheless, now that Nigerians are thinking that there is real likelihood of her being bias, she should excuse herself. More so that she is not the only national commissioner in INEC.

“Should the PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar and other presidential candidates also have their relatives as part of INEC committee on collation of results?

“Therefore, the presidency and INEC have the moral burden to prove to Nigerians that they are not in any way out to short-change them,” he said.

Fayose  alleged that the federal government was desperate to rig the elections saying: “It won’t be a surprise if tomorrow, Nigerians are told that the tenure of the inspector general of police, Idris Ibrahim, has been extended, not because he has done well protecting Nigerians, but in furtherance to the plot to use the security agencies to rig the elections.”

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