The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPM), Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, has called for the removal of Amina Zakari as the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Collation Centre Committee. During a recent interview on Channels Television’s Hard Copy, Ezekwesili insisted that Zakari should not be given any task during the general elections for integrity sake.
“She shouldn’t be at all involved in any task that involves the conduct of the 2019 elections. She is an interested party.
“If we want the highest level of electoral integrity, Amina Zakari who is a professional in her own right, should continue to be a Commissioner but don’t put her in the conduct of 2019 elections,” Ezekwesili stated.
Her comments come a week after INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu announced Zakari’s appointment as the Collation Committee’s chief of the commission.
Following the appointment, prominent Nigerians including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have rejected the development, calling for her removal on the ground that she is related to President Muhammadu Buhari and might want to influence the election.
Although the Presidency and INEC have denied the allegation, Ezekwesili described the denial as “lies.” She believes that although Zakari may not be related to Buhari by blood, she is related to the President by marriage.
“It is a shame that they are lying. They know that the President’s sister was married to Amina Zakari’s father. So there is definitely a strong relationship. I am not part of the party that talked about blood relations.
“I know there is no blood relationship, but I know there is such proximate relationship. And that relationship used to be thrown around until it became a problem,” she added.
The Presidency has condemned the claim that President Muhammadu Buhari and a national commissioner with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mrs Amina Zakari, are related by blood.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, faulted the insinuation in a statement on Friday.
“President Buhari and Commissioner Amina Zakari don’t share a family relationship,” he said.
The statement comes a day after INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, appointed Mrs Zakari as the chairperson of the collation centre committee for the general elections. However, In a swift reaction, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rejected the appointment of the national commissioner, alleging that it was a plot by the Presidency to rig the polls.