Acting National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Hajia Amina Bala Zakari, whose tenure as national commissioner ended, will remain in office based on her new appointment while a National Commissioner, Dr. Abdulkadir Oniyingi from Kwara State (North-Central) bowed out from office with 16 Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs.
Oniyingi’s tenure and that of Zakari ended on Tuesday.
According to INEC’s Deputy Director of Publicity, Mr. Nick Dazang, “there is no confusion over the position of Zakari in INEC, having been named the acting chairman of the commission by President Muhammadu Buhari.”
Dazang said that Hajia Zakari will remain at the helm of affairs of INEC pending the appointment of a substantive chairman by the Federal Government.
“There should be no controversy over the appointment of the Acting Chairman by the President because in Section 153 to 159 of the Nigerian Constitution, the President has the power to appoint the INEC Chairman subject to ratification by the Senate.
“There is a letter by the Head of Service appointing Zakari as the Acting Chairman pending the appointment of a substantive chairman and this is already in the public domain,” Dazang said.
The affected 16 RECs are Ahmad Makama, Bauchi State; Haliru Tambuwal, Sokoto State; Abdullahi Danyaya, Niger; Abubakar Wara, Kebbi; Mr. Mike Igini, Delta; Prof. Selina Oko, Ebonyi; Hussaini Ahmed Mahuta, Katsina; Dr. A.L. Ogunmola, Oyo; Alh. Ibrahim Zarewa, Kano; Prof. Tukur Sa’ad, Adamawa; Dr. Emmanuel Onucheyo, Kogi; Kassim Gana Gaidam, Yobe; Mr. Timothy Ibitoye, Osun; Ambassador Rufus Akeju, Lagos; Prof. C.E. Onukaogu, Abia and Ibrahim Bagobiri Marafa, Zamfara.
Nigerian Pilot recalls that INEC witnessed a change in leadership when Prof. Attahiru Jega left office after his five-year tenure and handed over to Ambassador Mohammed Wali but was immediately replaced by Zakari by President Buhari.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP objected to her emergence and even accused the President appointing his daughter as the INEC boss.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja recently, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, said the party was disturbed by the development in INEC where President Buhari, who knew all along that the immediate past INEC chairman would be leaving office by June 30, had to wait for him to hand over to one of the national commissioners only to reverse it immediately, thereby injecting bad blood in the commission.
Those against her appointment led by the opposition PDP, had argued that she cannot be trusted to be fair to all parties, especially during elections, because of her link to partisan politicians. Obviously worried by the opposition against her stay in office beyond July when she is due to retire, some 13 political parties were said to have been mobilised on to shore up support for her.

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