Outrage explodes in Nigeria after appointment of President’s niece as election collation chief

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Outrage has continued to escalate in Nigeria following the controversial appointment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s niece as election collation chief.

The appointment of Amina Zakari as head of the Independent National Electoral Commission collation centre for the general elections starting in February 2019 has created a firestorm of political anger with opposition warning that Mr Buhari, 76, was bent on rigging a presidential election he might certainly lose.

Outspoken former governor of Ekiti state, Mr Ayodele Fayose, penned a statement on Saturday, warning that the presidency was “being pushed by desperation to rig” the 2019 elections in Nigeria.

Fayose described the appointment as a “moral burden on the president, his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the electoral commission in particular”.

“A president who took oath of office that he will be equitable and fair to all must be seen to be acting in
accordance with this oath and the moment issues like these are raised, it is not for INEC and the Presidency to be rigid and act as if they don’t care,” Fayose said in a statement by a spokesman.

He described the Presidency’s defense that Amina Zakari was appointed by the opposition PDP government as puerile and unacceptable.

“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.”

The former  governor said “certain things can be good, but might not be 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 shortchanged them.”

He said former President Goodluck Jonathan’s patriotic decision to appoint Prof Atahiru Jega as INEC Chairman was the reason President Buhari won the 2015 election and the President should rather be
concerned with sustaining that legacy of credible elections that he inherited instead of desperate pursuit of his reelection.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, Simon leads a brilliant team of reporters, freelance journalists, analysts, researchers and contributors from around the world to run TODAY NEWS AFRICA as editor-in-chief. Simon Ateba's journalistic experience spans over 10 years and covers many beats, including business and investment, information technology, politics, diplomacy, human rights, science reporting and much more. Write him: [email protected]

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