By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- 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.
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 commission.
“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 administration.
“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 nation.
“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.”