The Presidency has dismissed the insinuation made by the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, that the appointment of Mrs Amina Zakari as the acting chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, did not follow due process.
Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, stated this in reaction to a statement credited to PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Olisa Metuh, on Zakari’s appointment.
Adeshina dismissed the insinuation that the President overruled Prof. Attahiru Jega in appointing Zakari as the acting INEC chairman.
Metuh had at a press conference on Wednesday accused the presidency of nepotism and disregarding due process in appointing Zakari in place of Mr Ahmed Wali, who ex-INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, handed over to.
He had said that the appointment was made on account of her “personal relationship with the Presidency and a governor in the North-West to pave the way for the APC at election tribunals,’’ saying the PDP would not recognize Zakari.
“We have noted with regret, the latest tirade against President Muhammadu Buhari issued 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 Metuh’s allegations, President Buhari’s appointment of Zakari as Acting INEC Chairman 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.
“This is because, apart from being fully qualified for the position, Mrs Zakari was the only woman among the six Commissioners considered,’’ the statement said.
Adesina, therefore, maintained that due process was certainly followed in Zakari’s appointment, and urged the public to disregard Metuh’s “spurious claims.’’
“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,’’ he said.
The statement described the allegations as nothing “but falsehoods contrived by Metuh to unjustly denigrate a President popularly elected by Nigerians to undo the damage done to the nation by years of PDP rule.’’