The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Thursday, 3rd of January 2019, announced the appointment of Amina Zakari as head ofthe National Collation Center Committee. This decision generated negative reactions from many Nigerians and various political parties, especially the leading opposition party, the People Democratic Party (PDP).
It is believed that Mrs Amina Zakari, who was once a former INEC Director of Operations hails from Daura, Kastina. President MuhammaduBuhari’s hometown and that, she shares a family relationship of the president.
A statement released by the People’s Democratic Party reads “The People’s Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organization vehemently and unequivocally rejects, in its entirety, the appointment of Mrs. Amina Zakari, President Buhari’s blood relation, as head of the collation of results in the same election in which her uncle, President Buhari, is a candidate.’’ It further went on to say “there is no way Amina Zakari will not allocate votes to her blood relation, President Buhari”
However, GarbaShehu, the spokesman to the President, on Friday replied the opposition party saying “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.
In an interview with BBC News Igbo, Amina refuted all allegations of any blood relations with President. She said, “I am not his niece, I am not his cousin. I was appointed on this same particular job by Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010. Prior to that, I was appointed an A.S to former president OlusegunObasanjo, and I did my job perfectly”.
Hours later, Amina Zakari’s Biography was released, it states that she is a princess of the Kazaure Emirate of Jigawa State. She was born on June 23, 1960 to the late Emir of Kazaure, HussainiAdamu. Zakari completed her elementary education at Shekara Girls Primary School, Kano in 1971 and had her secondary education at Queens College, Lagos.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy with Second Class Upper, best graduating student, in 1980 from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. The former INEC boss once served as Special Assistant to the President from 2004 to 2007. She was former National Electoral Commissioner at INEC. She had also chaired the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) of INEC. She was chairman of the INEC Planning Monitoring and Strategy Committee, effective November 2014.
INEC has made it known that it has no plan to replace Amina Zakari as the head of the collation centre committee for this year general election. The electoral body disputed the claim that by heading the committee, Zakari will be involved in the collation of results.
When she was chosen to serve in a similar position by the previous administration she did a perfect job. Now that the present government has chosen her to do the same thing, Amina should be left to do what she does well. All voices calling for her removal should keep still, not forgetting that her blood relations with the president is yet to be proven.