By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA – The Presidency yesterday said that due process was followed in the appointment of Mrs. Amina Zakari as the Acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
It will be recalled that Mrs. Zakari was appointed by President Mohammadu Buhari on Tuesday to replace the immediate past Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega whose tenure elapsed on the same day.
But her appointment has generated concerns and reactions from many quarters.
One of such quarters is the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP which accused the President of naming an ally of his to pave way for the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC reclaim the PDP controlled States at the election Tribunal through some dubious means.
The party also accused President of over ruling Jega who had earlier handed over to another senior staff of the Commission.
But reacting to the concerns raised by the PDP, the presidency through the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina said that due process was followed in making the nomination.
In a statement issued late last night, Adesina said that “Mr Metuh’s spurious claims of her appointment having been influenced by “personal relationship with the Presidency” and a Governor in the North-West “to pave the way for the APC” at election tribunals should be disregarded by the public.”
He added that Buhari did not over rule Jega in the appointment of Zakari.
According to him, the allegations were unfounded, deliberately made to denigrate the president.
The statement read thus: “We have noted with regret, the latest tirade against President Muhammadu Buhari issued today 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 Mr Metuh’s allegations, President Buhari’s appointment of Mrs Zakari as Acting INEC Chariman 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, because, apart from being fully qualified for the position, Mrs Zakari was the only woman among the six Commissioners considered.
“Due Process was certainly followed in Mrs Zakari’s appointment. Mr Metuh’s spurious claims of her appointment having been influenced by “personal relationship with the Presidency” and a Governor in the North-West “to pave the way for the APC” at election tribunals should be disregarded by the public.
“The allegations are nothing but falsehoods contrived by Mr Metuh to unjustly denigrate a President popularly elected by Nigerians to undo the damage done to the nation by years of PDP rule.
“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.”