United Progressive Party, UPP, has said it would amount to cheap blackmail for anyone to query the appointment of the acting INEC chairman, Mrs Amina Bala Zakari, on the flimsy reason that she is from the same geo-political zone with the president.
The party rather commended President Muhammadu Buhari for exercising his prerogative of power under the Nigerian Constitution in appointing Mrs. Zakari as the acting INEC chairman.
In a press statement on Thursday, the national chairman of UPP, Chief Chekwas Okorie said the party did not share in the unwarranted propaganda by the PDP on an appointment in which the president merely exercised his inherent powers.
The PDP, through its national publicity secretary, Mr. Olisa Metuh, had raised suspicion over her appointment, saying it was not done in good faith.
But Okorie was of the view that Zakari’s appointment was well deserved, describing her as a diligent and upright personality who was fair and firm in carrying out her responsibilities.
“The argument that President Buhari reversed the action of Professor Attahiru Jega who handed over to Ambassador Mohammad Wali is illogical and pedestrian. Professor Jega was right to hand over his office to whomsoever he chose in line with the rules guiding the commission.
“The president still has the power to renew her appointment for another term of five years as a commissioner without offending the nation’s laws. It is cheap blackmail to query the appointment of Mrs. Zakari as Acting Chairman of INEC on the flimsy reason that she is from the same geo-political zone with the President.
“Professor Attahiru Jega came from the same geopolitical zone with the president and this did not confer on the president any special advantage during the presidential election of 2015 in which the PDP lost to the APC and accepted its defeat.
“We wish to conclude by urging President Muhammadu Buhari not to follow the PDP bad example of appointing card-carrying members of its party as federal commissioners and resident electoral commissioners whenever he is considering such appointments.
“An improved and credible electoral reform shall begin with the neutrality, credibility and non-partisanship of officers of the commission, especially the Chairman, Federal Commissioners and Resident Electoral Commissioners of INEC,” Okorie stated.
While congratulating the acting INEC chairman for being the first woman in the history of the electoral umpire in Nigeria to lead the commission, Okorie suggested that she should introduce strict discipline among the staff and zero tolerance for corruption.
The UPP boss further observed that one of the weaknesses of INEC was its lack of strong will required to deal with its erring staff.

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