Atiku reacts to controversy over Amina Zakari being Buhari’s niece

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar has reacted to the controversy surrounding the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, appointment of Amina Zakari as its Head of Collation Center for the 2019 election. Following her appointment, PDP, had claimed that she was the niece to President Muhammadu Buhari, hence should be removed from such a position. However, Buhari dismissed the claim as false, saying he had no blood relation with Zakari. But speaking through the spokesperson of his Campaign Team, Kassim Afegbua, Abubakar said the history of Zakari’s Amina’s engagement in INEC has been a subject of “public criticism” for quite some time. Featuring on the Channels Television breakfast programme Sunrise Daily, yesterday, he said “We have seen her roles in previous elections, and so to that effect, we know she is being accused of being partisan in the way and manner she has been conducting herself within the INEC and her responsibility, hence, somebody cannot just come and rub off all that. “If we say somebody is a niece, that means maybe the mom is a sister to President Buhari and this is a daughter to a woman who is a sister to the president.” He stated that the relationship between Zakari and Buhari was not the main issue, stressing that the bane of discussion was the standards upon which INEC operates. “INEC must as a matter of responsibility allow the electoral process to be seen to be transparent, to be devoid of any partisan inclinations to an extent that the participants in the electoral process would see that INEC is fair enough in the way and manner in which they deploy staff (whether ad-hoc or permanent) in the process of conducting elections,” he said. He stressed that the beauty of elections and the transparency of it, “is the fact that people who are participants should naturally own it, are buying into your own (INEC’s) decisions and policy framework, so that in the final analysis they will say yes given a level playing field in the respective aspects of the election, INEC has been able to live up to its bidding”.