By Uche Mbah
The appointment of Amina ZakarI, an INEC Director in charge of health and medicare, to head the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC collation of results have sparked off a deluge of anger among the populace, especially in the social media with many wondering at the audacity of the Commission to appoint the Niece of President Buhari to such a sensitive electoral position.
During the evening of the Jonathan administration, and Attahiru Jegga, former INEC chairman, billed to retire immediately after the 2015 elections, former president Jonathan then was said to have asked the presidnt elect, Muhammadu Buhari to nominate the new INEC Chairman since he is to be the new sheriff in town. He immediately nominated his niece, Amina ZakarI. Characteristically, Jonathan approved the nomination. But when Buhari took over, there was an uproar over the blood relationship between the president and INEC chairman, and he finally dropped her for Mahmud Yakubu. But she was deployed to a more strategic position as the Director of operations, thereby increasing suspicion that she may be used for a rigging hatchet job by the presidency. The opposition expressed such misgivings and INEC ignored the protests. It was not until the Senate hinged the approval of INEC supplementary budget on her removal that she was deployed to the health Directorate as the director in charge.
Amina is a Pharmacy graduate from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, as well as an Old Girl of Queens College Lagos.
The opposition, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has officially rejected the appointment, seeing it as part of the APC rigging strategy. In fact, it is said that the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, privately complained that if there is any free And fair election, Buhari stands no chance against him, but that his worry was that he is contesting the elections against INEC and the security agencies.
The army, for example, is insisting on Operation Python Dance III all over the country, a move seen by the opposition as using the army to weaken the PDP strongholds in South east, South south and North Central.
The PDP is said to have established an ant rigging committee which this magazine was told has an ultra-secret membership. The job description is to identify rigging plans, modalities and ways of tackling same. Efforts to officially confirm this proved abortive, but the spokesperson of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, was said to have noted that the best antidote will be for the INEC to involve international observers in the collation of results.
It will be recalled that President Buhari has refused to sign the electoral bill for fears that it may not give INEC the leeway to act. The act stipulated that announcement of results should be done directly from the polling units and not at a central collation center, as that will give room for result falsification.
There has been allegations of opposition intimidation by anti-graft agencies. It was alleged that even serving governors are being blackmailed with arrests after power, with evidence of their baggage dangled before them-which was why, according to sources, even PDP governors are not being heard seriously issuing campaign statements. The PDP has mostly used press releases to push out information as a collective decision. Only a few PDP top-wigs are vocal, like, for example, Ayo Fayose, Femi Fanni Kayode and Osita Chidoka.