Despite strong opposition from the Peoples Democratic Party and Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state to the candidature of the acting chairperson of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Amina Zakari, new indications have emerged that her appointment might soon be confirmed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Punch reported that Buhari may announce Zakari as the substantive chairman of the electoral body which will end the hope of those that might be jostling to get the appointment after the exit of Professor Attahiru Jega.
A source close to this arrangement said that the president had decided to confirm Zakari’s appointment instead of shopping for another chairman for INEC. The source who does not want to be named because she is not authorized to speak officially on the matter said Zakari appointment would be confirmed very soon so that she can supervise the forthcoming governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states later in the year.
She stated that once the appointment of a substantive chairman is announced, the government would thereafter go ahead to fill the vacant positions of national commissioners.
“It is almost certain that the President will soon confirm Mrs. Zakari’s appointment. She may be named the substantive chairman of INEC soon. The President does not seem to be interested in shopping for a chairman from outside the commission,” she said.
Zakari became the acting chairperson of INEC at the expiration of the tenure of Jega, her appointment was announced by the director of communication of the head of civil service of the federation, Haruna Imrana. The statement said she would be in charge pending the appointment of a substantive chairman.
The acting INEC chairperson appointment was greeted criticisms from PDP claiming that she is President Buhari’s In-law, an allegation she has strongly refuted.
Other concerned stakeholders held that Zakari continued stay at INEC boss is unconstitutional. This argument was hinged on the fact that her appointment as national commissioner had expired on July 22.
They argued that Zakari was appointed to act as the chairman by virtue of her appointment as a national commissioner and now that her appointment has elapsed, she ceases to be a member of the commission.
However, Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, said that in the appointment of the acting INEC chairman, the president only exercised his powers as enshrined in sections 154 and 318 of the 1999 constituion as amended.
“The appointment is covered by Sections 154 and 318 of the 1999 Constitution. The constitution empowers the President to appoint the woman in an acting capacity. It also covers the appointment even if her tenure has expired,” Adesina said.
Meanwhile, Zakari said while reacting to the rumour that she is an in-law to Buhari, she is not married to the son of the president and either is any of her children married to the president’s children.