By Our Reporters
Those who are still pushing for President Muhammadu Buhari to relieve Mrs. Amina Zakari, the Jigawa state born top official of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of her appointment would be disappointed. This is because Buhari may not have seen any reason to sack her as he believes she is performing her duties diligently without blame.
The offence she may have committed , according INEC, sources was her appointment as the Head of the Commission Collation center and Logistics by Mahmood Yakubu, a Professor and Chairman of the Commission, which the people’s Democratic Party, PDP, Coalition of Political Parties, CUPP, and critics have capitalised on to call for her sack to ensure a free, fair and credible Presidential election on Saturday, February 16, 2019.
Buhari may have told those that cares to listen that there was no basis to push for her removal noting that ”free, fair and credible elections are the foundation of political stability and peace in any nation”.
Recall that Mrs. Zakari was appointed into the Commission by former President Goodluck Jonathan on the recommendation of Buhari, who was the then Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, Presidential Candidate to represent his interest in the Commission in 2010
Junaid Mohammed, a second Republic Lawmaker from Kano state fears that it would be a difficult task for Buhari to sack his own blood relation in a such a strategic Commission during this election period. Mohammed had said that Buhari had pushed for the appointment of Mrs. Zakari into the electoral umpire to compensate her for staying in their family house in his early childhood.
The argument in political circles was that if there is no blood relationship between Buhari and the INEC official there is no way he could have spent his early childhood in his father’s house, which provided him the opportunity to know her.
It was therefore not surprising that when the opportunity came to pay the family back for their support to him in his early childhood, he quickly submitted Mrs. Zakari’s name for appointment into INEC to represent his interest.
She may not have failed in the assignment as Buhari had dragged Jonathan, the PDP, Candidate in the 2011 Presidential election to the Supreme Court with facts and figures to show that that he won the election but was not lucky to get the Supreme Court justices upturn the election in his favour. There are fears in both official and unofficial circles that the Katsina born Nigerian President may have been getting an insider information on how the 2011 Presidential election was won by the then President Jonathan , the PDP Presidential Candidate.
Many believe that if Jonathan had read the handwriting on the wall that Mrs. Zakari was in INEC to serve a particular interest he would have sacked her before Attahiru Jega, a Professor and the then INEC , Chairman , started giving her strategic appointments ahead of the 2011 presidential election. One of such appointments was the monitoring of political parties, a position she held between 2010 and 2014. The appointment may have given her an insight into the working of the parties and how they stand to properly cage them during elections.
The Presidency may have provided ammunition for PDP and other critics to intensify their pressure on the President to ensure that the INEC top official must not be allowed to Head the INEC Collation center and Logistics when he was said that in the north there are inter marriages which occurred in extended families, an indication she may have had blood relationship with the him.
The clarification may have made a mockery of Mrs. Zakari’s claims in an interview with the BBC, that ”Buhari was not her Cousin or uncle”, to convince doubting Thomas’s that there was no cause to worry about the upcoming Presidential election.
There is no gain saying the fact that if Buhari, the APC, Presidential Candidate should defeat Atiku Abubakar, the PDP flag bearer in the February 16, 2019, Presidential election,the PDP will pick hole in the election by insisting that Mrs. Zakari has rigged his uncle back to Aso rock, the country’s Seat of power.
This may throw the country into unimaginable confusion which political observers said Buhari should be prepared to handle the situation so as to prevent nation from falling into the hands of those who may want the country to be balkanised to serve their selfish interest. He may have assured the parties Presidential Candidates in the 2019 election that votes must count as he has vowed never to interfere in the process. ”if there is one legacy I want to leave is the enthronement of democracy as a system of government”, he had said.
The APC Presidential Candidate maintained that ”for democracy to be enthroned, elections must be free, fair and credible as the citizens must be allowed to vote for Candidates of their choice without intimidation in any form”. He further said that he has warned INEC and the security agencies that ”votes must count” in the election. This should gladden the heart of Atiku and other parties Presidential Candidates to go into the February 16, election without fear that Buhari might use the Federal might to win .
Note that the United States had predicted during the 2015 Presidential election that the country would be balkanised because of the way the election was said to be going. Jonathan, the then President , who supervised the conduct of the election proved them wrong by ensuring that there was no crisis during the election. He was said to have refused to bow to pressure to use his weight to ensure that he was not defeated by Buhari , the APC , Candidate , who has the backing of most people in government including top security agencies officials.
The fear being expressed in international circles was that Buhari may not be willing to relinquish power if he loses the Presidential on the February 16,2019 because he has the security agencies under his firm control.
The United States may have foreseen trouble ahead that it has closed its Embassy in Abuja and the Consulate General center in Lagos , blaming it on the government shutdown by the President, Donald Trump, which had entered its third week. Buhari may not want to play into the hand of Trump, who has been very supportive of his government to go against the tenets of democracy by refusing to relinquish power if he loses the election. Trump,the US President and other world leaders may be watching to see what would happen in Nigeria during and after the February 16, 2019, Presidential election.
The Katsina state born Nigerian President may not want to go below the standard set by Jonathan, the former President to enthrone democracy in the country as he vows to relinquish power if he loses the Presidential election to Atiku of the PDP or any other party Candidate in the race.
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