The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday rose from a press conference in Abuja charging the National Assembly to save the nation from imminent political crisis by immediately commencing the process of removing Mrs. Amina Zakari from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“Our position is predicated on the fact that it is clear to all, that Amina Zakari’s uncle, President Buhari, having been rejected by Nigerians, is now using her as virus to compromise the independence of the commission, manipulate the electoral process and rig the Presidential election for him,” the party explained.
The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended provides that: “Subject to the provisions of subsection (3) of this section, a person holding any of the offices to which this section applies may only be removed from that office by the President acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate praying that he be so removed for inability to discharge the functions of the office (whether arising from infirmity of mind or body or any other cause) or for misconduct.
“This section applies to the offices of the Chairman and members of the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Federal Civil Service Commission, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the National Judicial Council, the Federal Judicial Service Commission, the Federal Character Commission, the Nigeria Police Council, the National Population Commission, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the Police Service Commission.”
The press conference, which was presided over by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, claimed that the “Buhari Presidency has been using Amina Zakari to bear pressure on INEC even to the extent of brazenly foisting her as the collation officer for the Presidential election to enable President Buhari announce himself as winner.”
According to the party, “a credible electoral commission must be completely impartial, transparent, totally independent and immune from external control by interested entities. These are qualities INEC can no longer lay claim to as long as Amina Zakari remains a member of the commission.”
The opposition party believed that, “by foisting Mrs. Amina Zakari to lead the final process of the election, President Buhari is seeking a way to annex INEC, practically take over the collation of results, and announce himself the winner.”
The PDP further argued that Zakari’s continued retention in INEC “is a clear invitation to anarchy and a huge political crisis capable of derailing our democracy because Nigerians across the board are already in vehement rejection of this self-succession plot and are now, more than ever before, ready to use every necessary means available and accessible to them in a democracy to protect our democratic process.”
“Furthermore, as long as Amina Zakari remains in INEC, the commission cannot be trusted. It will interest Nigerians to know that following public outcry against her nomination, Amina Zakari’s agents, last night, (Thursday night) surreptitiously attempted to compromise the media by sending secret messages to emails of editors with the view to water down and sway the direction of information on her provocative appointment to lead the collation of Presidential election results.”
The PDP further claimed: “We have been informed of how Mrs. Zakari led other top INEC officials to a secret meeting with some top officials of the Buhari Campaign Organization (BCO) in Abuja on ways to introduce the controversial Incidence Form under a new name and use such to manipulate the collation of results.”
It urged Nigerians and lovers of democracy all over the world to unite in condemning “this scheme by the Buhari Presidency to use Amina Zakari to enmesh our election into unnecessary controversy and trigger a political crisis in our country, just because they have realised that President Buhari cannot win the Presidential election.”
The PDP said: “President Buhari and Amina Zakari should know that Nigerians have made up their minds in rallying behind our Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, as their next president and no amount of machination, shenanigans and scheming will stop this resolve.
“We want the world to note how our Presidential candidate has been traversing the length and breadth of our nation campaigning and winning the support of millions of compatriots with his message of hope and practical solutions to myriads of our national problems for which Nigerians have attained a consensus to elect him as their next President.
“Instead of campaigning, President Buhari, having realised that Nigerians are no longer interested in his empty promises and display of incompetence, has rather resorted to seeking ways to manipulate the electoral processes and foist himself back to power against the wishes of Nigerians,” the party added.
It stated: “The Buhari Presidency will never have its way in rigging this election through a self-succession strategy. We insist that, in this election, votes must count and only the will of Nigerians, as expressed at the ballot will prevail.
The PDP urged Nigerians to brace up to the challenge and stand for democracy by getting ready to vote, protect their votes to the very end.
“Nigeria belongs to all of us. No one individual is bigger that our collective entity as a nation. Our citizens will never allow a group of very few desperate and compromised individuals in the Buhari Presidency and INEC to hold our nation to ransom,” the party stated.