Why PDP rejected Buhari’s appointment of Zakari as INEC Acting Chairman

NATIONAL leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP yesterday
rejected in totality the appointment of Hajia Amina Bala Zakari as
acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC
by President Muhammadu Buhari, alleging that the presidency plans to use
her appointment to compromise the Election Tribunals in favour of the
All Progressives Congress, APC.

Addressing Journalists in Abuja yesterday, PDP National Publicity
Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh stressed that with her appointment, the
public no longer have confidence and trust in INEC, alleging that she
was made the acting INEC Chairman because of her very strong
relationship with the presidency and a governor from the North West who
influenced the position for her.

Mrs Amina Bala Zakari
According to Metuh, “The PDP is particularly disturbed by the
development in INEC where President Buhari, who knew all along that the
immediate-past INEC Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega would be leaving office
by June 30, had to wait for him to handover to one of the national
commissioners only to reverse it immediately, thereby injecting bad
blood in the commission.

“The situation in INEC since the PDP government reformed and granted
it operational autonomy has been peaceful, but Tuesday’s untidy
overruling of Prof. Jega and appointing of Mrs. Amina Zakari as acting
chairman which, we gathered was influenced by personal relationship with
the Presidency and one of the new governors of the North West,
ostensibly to pave the way for the APC at the electoral tribunals, has
completely eroded public trust in the commission.

“Whereas the PDP recognizes the right and powers of the President to
appoint the Chairman of INEC and the Accountant General of the
Federation (AGF), we reject attempts as in the case of the AGF to paint
the process as transparent and objective when such was not the case, but
brought to question the sincerity and commitment of the present
administration to due process.

”In INEC, the PDP states in unequivocal terms that we cannot, as
critical stakeholders fold our hands and watch while the Presidency
perpetuate actions that diminish the independence of the electoral

“The PDP has declared the appointment of Mrs. Amina Zakari as
unacceptable and demand that President Buhari changes her immediately.

” Our reasons include the fact that due process was not observed in
the appointment and that Mrs. Zakari has shown in the last elections
that she is manifestly bias in favour of the APC. Finally her
appointment is a clear case of nepotism.

” We ask, if they trusted Prof. Jega and commended him for conducting
free and fair elections, why would they not trust him on who to hold
forth in the commission until a substantive Chairman is appointed,
rather than appointing someone who is retiring from the commission in
the next three weeks?

“With the prevailing record of Mr. President on appointments, it is
unlikely that a substantive INEC Chairman will be appointed in the next
one year. Is there a hidden agenda? Has Mrs. Zakari been handed a script
to act given that we have cases in the tribunals in addition to the
forthcoming elections in Kogi and Bayelsa?
Metuh who insisted that the APC was derailing, said that it was
unfortunate that thirty- two days after inauguration, elected into power
over three months ago on the basis of their numerous promises to the
Nigerian people, strong indications have emerged that the party and
President Buhari were not adequately equipped and ready to chart a
direction for the enormous challenges of governance.

According to PDP, in the last one month, the APC and the government
have failed to provide the change as they claim, as Nigeria was
presently witnessing avoidable tension, wrangling within the ruling
party, disruption of legislative activities in the National Assembly,
painful economic stagnation.

Warning the APC against the pronouncement of voodoo achievements, the
PDP stressed that the country was witnessing what it described as
overall uncertainty in the polity all due to the apparent inability of
President Buhari to provide good governance and leadership.

Metuh said, “today marks exactly thirty-two days of the inauguration
of a new administration under the APC, which was elected into power over
three months ago on the basis of their numerous promises to the
Nigerian people.

” Even though this government has continued to plead for patience, we
are worried that indications from President Muhammadu Buhari and his
party do not inspire desired confidence in the citizenry that they are
adequately equipped and ready to chart a direction for the enormous
challenges of governance.

“In the last one month, instead of a journey to change as they claim,
all we have witnessed are avoidable tension, wrangling within the
ruling party, disruption of legislative activities in our National
Assembly, painful economic stagnation, pronouncement of voodoo
achievements and overall uncertainty in the polity all due to the
apparent inability of our respected President to provide leadership.

” We have a President and a party that have since thirty–two days
been unable to decide on rudimentary appointments such as Secretary to
the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief of Staff to the President,
ministers and his demand for 15 Special Advisers as approved by the PDP
controlled Seventh Assembly since June 5, 2015.

” Even the very little intervention made on appointments such as
those of the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) and the Acting
Chairman of INEC, have not shown our beloved President as an evenhanded
and patriotic leader resulting in the confusion and crisis of confidence
that have trailed the two appointments.

“Furthermore, the PDP finds it sycophantic, insincere and the height
of deceit for the APC to continue to deceive President Buhari by
parading voodoo achievements and pretending that all is well with the
nation even when it is obvious that the government has not been able to
locate its bearing.

“The PDP also finds unacceptable APC’s continued playing on the
intelligence of the people by dishing out imaginary achievements in the
media even when it is evident to all that the nation is stagnating, a
clear indication that the ruling party and the President lack direction
and capacity to meet the expectations of Nigerians.

“It is indeed amusing that a party in power in a press conference on
Tuesday claimed progress in the fight against terrorism when the effort
has lost steam in the last thirty-two days with insurgents, who under
the Goodluck Jonathan administration were already at the verge of
surrender in the Sambisa now surging back into the country.

“How can a political party attempt to deceive Nigerians and the
President when the economy has plummeted under their watch with a
terrifying crippling of foreign and domestic investments and the stock
market losing over N350 billion because of the prevailing uncertainty
and confusion in the system?

“If by the declaration of the APC National Publicity Secretary,
Alhaji Lai Mohammed that President Buhari has done excellently well thus
far, then Nigerians should not expect anything from this

“The PDP as a responsible political party committed to the national
interest, we urge the APC to henceforth desist from unnecessary
propaganda which ought to have ended with the campaigns, settle down and
help the President form a government and chart a direction for the

“Finally, while we restate our respect for the office and person of
the President, the Presidency and the APC must know that though
Nigerians are wiling to give them time to perform, they are tired of
their unfounded excuses of handover notes coming late; of meeting empty
treasury, of clearing the so-called Augean Stable among nuances of other
frivolous claims.

“What Nigerians expect today is a government that will hit the ground
running, face the challenges of governance and commence implementation
of its campaign promises.”