New INEC Chair: PDP Accuses Buhari of Bias; No, We Followed Due Process, Says President
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari in his appointment of Mrs Amina Zakari as Acting Chair of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), saying she has strong affinity to the President hence may interfere with ongoing electoral litigations at tribunal in favour of the APC.
Spokesman for the PDP, Mr. Olisah Metuh, had accused Buhari of appointing Mrs Zakari with the intent of swinging decisions at the tribunals to the favour of APC, but Presidential Spokesman, Femi Adesina, in a statement dismissed the allegation as empty and lacking any foundation.
The Presidency statement reads: “We have noted with regret, the latest tirade against President Muhammadu Buhari issued today by the PDP’s Spokesman, Mr Olisa Metuh.
“Other than boring reporters at his press conference with a rehash of baseless allegations of inaction against the President, Mr Metuh clearly had nothing new to say apart from his charge of nepotism and partisanship in the appointment of the Acting INEC Chairman, which also lacks any factual foundation.
“President Buhari certainly did not “overrule” Prof. Attahiru Jega in appointing Mrs Amina Zakari as the Acting INEC Chairman, as Mr Metuh alleged.
“Prof. Jega’s purported handing over to another Commissioner cannot be construed as an “appointment” because only the President has the constitutional authority, which he exercised to appoint Mrs Zakari as acting Chairman of INEC.
“Contrary to Mr Metuh’s allegations, President Buhari’s appointment of Mrs Zakari as Acting INEC Chariman was based entirely on merit, her vast experience in the internal operations of INEC and the President’s commitment to affirmative action in support of gender equality, because, apart from being fully qualified for the position, Mrs Zakari was the only woman among the six Commissioners considered.
“Due Process was certainly followed in Mrs Zakari’s appointment. Mr Metuh’s spurious claims of her appointment having been influenced by “personal relationship with the Presidency” and a Governor in the North-West “to pave the way for the APC” at election tribunals should be disregarded by the public.
“The allegations are nothing but falsehoods contrived by Mr Metuh to unjustly denigrate a President popularly elected by Nigerians to undo the damage done to the nation by years of PDP rule. His claim that the PDP has rejected Mrs Zakari’s appointment is also laughable after he had admitted that the right and power of the President to make such appointments cannot be questioned”.