The chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, Saturday clarified the obligations of Amina Zakari, whose appointment as the chairman of the Commission’s results collation committee has generated controversies.
“Somebody has to prepare the venue [National Result Centre to be set up at the International Conference Centre] for the conduct of the election, the internet service that we have to provide, accreditation of international observers and the media,” INEC boss Yakubu told AFP.
“I am absolutely responsible for the coordination of the secretariat for the collation of results,” he added.
The electoral body has come under criticism over its appointment of Zakari to head the collation committee.
Zakari, who has worked at INEC in other roles, is widely believed to be President Muhammadu Buhari’s niece.
The opposition People’s Democratic Party claimed Zakari has “blood relationship” with Buhari and her appointment was an attempt to rig the vote in Buhari’s favour.
PDP’s national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, described the appointment as a step towards destroying the future of democracy in Nigeria.
However, Buhari in a statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the Muhammadu Buhari, Friday denied sharing a family affinity with embattled INEC chief.
“President Buhari and Commissioner Amina Zakari don’t share a family relationship,” said Shehu,
“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,” he added.
Zakari was appointed as national commissioner in the INEC representing the entire seven states in the North-West under the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2011.
She was the Commission’s acting chairman from mid-2015 until Yakubu was appointed by Buhari in October 2016.
Zakari also chaired the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) with responsibility for party system consolidation. She was also the chairman of the INEC Planning Monitoring and Strategy Committee effective November 2014.