By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organization (PPCO) on Sunday called on the General Abdulsalami Abubakar-led National Peace Committee, the United Nations and other world leaders to speak out on the continued retention of Mrs. Amina Zakari at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The leading opposition party, which has been calling for Zakari’s resignation from INEC on the account of being a blood relation of President Muhammadu Buhari, insisted that unless she is removed there won’t be a credible and peaceful Presidential election.
This is even as an advocacy group, Accord Women and Youth Initiative, (AWYI), yesterday admitted that while the heat generated by Zakari’s continued stay in INEC has become worrisome, she must be replaced with another woman for gender balancing.
The PDP Presidential Campaign Organization, while addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja through its Director of media and publicity, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said “Already, Nigerians across the board are livid with anger over the foisting of Mrs. Amina Zakari, President Buhari’s relation, to head the collation of Presidential election results.
“President Buhari’s insistence on having his relation in charge of collation of Presidential election results is completely provocative, a direct affront to the sensibilities of Nigerians and express invitation to crisis of epic proportion, which is capable of truncating the entire electoral process and derailing our hard-earned democracy.
“We want the National Peace Committee and the entire world to know that as long as Amina Zakari is in INEC, a peaceful election is not guaranteed because she has the mandate to abuse the process and this will not be accepted by Nigerians.
“The PPCO therefore calls on the National Peace Committee to immediately speak out on the impropriety of having Amina Zakari in INEC as well as insist on her removal so that we can have a credible and peaceful Presidential election.”
The PPCO called on the Chief Justice Of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Onnogen to intervene in what it called the “ongoing use of the Police to clamp down on opposition figures, particularly members of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council and outspoken CSOs on trumped-up criminal charges.”
Meanwhile, a women advocacy group, represented by its Executive Director, Mrs Esther Opeluwah, said, “As Nigeria women, we are not against her on the basis of her gender, we are against her conduct and behavior in office.
“In fact, when she is removed, we will insist that she is replaced with another woman. We the Nigerian women and youths are not satisfied with her conduct as INEC commissioner and this is rubbing off negatively on the integrity of the electoral processes.
“Mrs Amina Zakari has repeatedly failed the neutrality and impartial test especially on her antecedents in the immediate past elections in the south west where she was in charge of electoral operations and logistics.”
2019 general elections is very important to us as Nigerians and we refuse to fold our hands and watch a few individuals including Mrs Zakari ruin our democracy. INEC must not only be fair but must be seen to be fair to all. The registered political parties and especially to Nigerians who are the stakeholders of the Nigerian project.
“We, therefore, by this press brief hereby demand the immediate resignation of Mrs. Amina Zakari from INEC forthwith,” she said.