Amina Zakara: EU rejects PDP’s plea to influence INEC

Amina Zakara: EU rejects PDP's plea to influence INEC

European Union (EU) on Friday turned down the request of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to influence the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the appointment of its official Amina Zakari.

INEC appointed Zakari as the chairman of the committee on collation centre during the 2019 election on Thursday, 3 December.

Her appointment stirred various debates across the country, with the PDP claiming that Zakari is a niece of the Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari. Buhari thereafter denied sharing blood relation with Zakari.

“Amina Zakari should not be found anywhere near the process. We have made our position known to INEC because there will be a direct conflict of interest,” PDP spokesman Kola Ologbondiyan said while addressing EU election observation mission in Abuja.

Deputy chief observer of the EU election observation team, Hannah Roberts said, “we can’t control anything. Our mandate is to observe and make recommendations and issue a statement, particularly after the elections in order to make future elections better”.

She added that the EU “will, of course, have discussions with a wide range of people, contenders and stakeholders so that they can monitor the reality on the ground.”

It was not the first time PDP demanded Amina Zakari’s removal, but INEC had said there was no way it would reverse its decision.

The PDP spokesman said Zakari’s appointment and Buhari’s decline to assent the electoral amendment bill were indications that the 2019 general elections would not be free and fair.

“Mr. President has refused to assent to the electoral amendment bill. We are convinced that the President was never prepared for the free and fair election,” Ologbondiyan said.

He, however, said the PDP would not accept the 2019 election except it is free and fair.

“The PDP as a party does not believe in violence, but would like the Presidency and INEC to conduct a free and fair election, outside of this, we will not agree,” Ologbondiyan said.

Ologbondiyan added that the PDP regrets handing the government over to the All Progressives Congress (APC) that “has no business in governance”.