Ayantunji Benjamin Gbenro (PhD)
The PDP in its usual manner has gone to town crying wolf since INEC announced the constitution of two ad hoc committees for the 2019 general elections. The committees announced by INEC are the Electoral Logistic Committee and the National Collation Committee. The INEC chairman announced that the first committee will involve various agencies while the second committee is entirely internal affair of the commission. The hoopla by PDP is on the choice of the most senior National Commissioner, Amina Zakari, who was also the former acting Chairman of the commission, as the Chairperson of this committee. The committee membership is made of other commissioners. The question is why the noise about Amina Zakari and who is this Amazon that PDP makes so much noise about to the extent of denying the nation the opportunity to have a first woman heading INEC when she was appointed as the Acting Chair.
This Amazon was born the 23rd of June 1960, she is a Princess of the Kazaure Emirate of Jigawa State. She had her early Education in Kano before proceeding to Queens College, Lagos for her Secondary School. She graduated as the best graduating student in Pharmacy from Ahmadu Bello University in 1980. The worked extensively in the public and private sector, distinguishing herself in all her assignment before she was appointed as a Special Assistant to former President Obasanjo in 2004, a position she held till 2007. She was appointed as a National Commissioner of INEC by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 and have served in that capacity till date with a brief stint as the acting Chair after the tenure of Prof. Attahiru Jega expired in 2015.
The controversy about her relationship with President Buhari was first reported by The Tribune Newspaper on the 27th July 2015 in a reported interview with Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, a known supporter of President Goodluck Jonathan. The interview quoted Yakassai as saying that Amina Zakari’s father was once married to Buhari’s elder sister and that Buhari briefly lived with the family. This account didn’t establish any blood relationship between Buhari and Amina Zakari, it at most established familiarity. Can someone’s neutrality be fairly questioned based of familiarity? My opinion is this is unfair. This position was amplified in a bid to paint Buhari as nepotic. However, on the 8th of Setember 2015, the same Yakassai granted an interview on Channels Television where he unequivocally stated that Buhari and Zakari are not related and that Tribune Newspaper added what he never said to his words.
Fact: Buhari and Amina Zakari have no blood relationship. At worst, their path crossed at a point in life.
National Collation Committee
The INEC Chairman categorically stated the responsibility of the National Collation Committee in his inaugural speech and I quote “The committee will be responsible for the national collation centre from where results of the Presidential election will be announced. …. Facilities such as power, access to the internet, live transmission for national and international media as well as accreditation for access to the ICC and security of the venue shall be handled by the Committee.” Where did PDP got the idea that Amina Zakari will collate or announced the presidential result from the stated responsibilities of her committee above?
In addition, Part IV, section 27 of the electoral act stated the procedure of collating and announcing the result of presidential election thus:
- Presiding Officers send results of poll to the RA/Ward Collation Officer;
- RA/Ward CO collates results and sends to LGA Collation Officer;
- LGA Collation Officer shall collate results and send to State Collation Officer;
- State Collation Officer collates results and sends to the Chief Electoral Commissioner (Chairman INEC);
- The Chief Electoral Commissioner (Chief Returning Officer) collates results from the State Collation Officers, declares the result and returns the winner as President elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Fact: Neither the National Collation Committee nor its Chairperson, Amina, Zakari has any role or influence on the collation process or the outcome of the Presidential Election Results
Where does the National Collation Committee comes in here and how does the chairperson influence the outcome? I will suggest that PDP concentrate on their campaign or if they have nothing to campaign with, they can as well wind down. The party should stop crying wolf where there is none. The party should stop heating up the polity unnecessarily with lies and conjectures. If they bring this house down with their desperate disposition, we will all suffer from the consequence.