Amina was one of the national commissioners in INEC before her appointment yesterday by President Buhari to succeed Professor Attahiru Jega, in acting capacity.
But the PDP spokesman, Olisa Metuh, attacked the appointment as symbolic of nepotism and partisanship on the part of the president.
The PDP claimed that Amina was too connected to the Presidency and may be a loyalist of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from Nigeria’s northwest zone.
Mr. Metuh said it was also wrong for President Buhari to allow former INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega, to hand over to a different person before picking Ms. Zakari hours later.
Mr. Jega, a professor who had run the Commission for five years beginning in June 2010, had on Tuesday handed over to Mohammed Wali, an INEC National Commissioner from Sokoto State. A few hours later, Buhari named Mrs. Zakari as the Commission’s Acting Chairman.
In a statement, media adviser to the President, Femi Adesina said Metuh’s attack lacks any factual foundation.
“President Buhari certainly did not “overrule” Prof. Attahiru Jega in appointing Mrs Amina Zakari as the Acting INEC Chairman, as Mr Metuh alleged.
“Prof. Jega’s purported handing over to another Commissioner cannot be construed as an “appointment” because only the President has the constitutional authority, which he exercised to appoint Mrs Zakari as acting Chairman of INEC.
”Contrary to Mr Metuh’s allegations, President Buhari’s appointment of Mrs Zakari as Acting INEC Chariman was based entirely on merit, her vast experience in the internal operations of INEC and the President’s commitment to affirmative action in support of gender equality, because, apart from being fully qualified for the position, Mrs Zakari was the only woman among the six Commissioners considered.
“Due Process was certainly followed in Mrs Zakari’s appointment. Mr Metuh’s spurious claims of her appointment having been influenced by “personal relationship with the Presidency” and a Governor in the North-West “to pave the way for the APC” at election tribunals should be disregarded by the public.
“The allegations are nothing but falsehoods contrived by Mr Metuh to unjustly denigrate a President popularly elected by Nigerians to undo the damage done to the nation by years of PDP rule.
“His claim that the PDP has rejected Mrs Zakari’s appointment is also laughable after he had admitted that the right and power of the President to make such appointments cannot be questioned”.