Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organization (PPCO) yesterday urged the National Assembly to immediately commence the process of the removal of Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC’s) Commissioner and President Muhammadu Buhari’s niece, Mrs. Amina Zakari.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja at a press conference, the Director, Media and Publicity of PPCO, Kola Ologbondiyan charged the lawmakers to save the nation from imminent political crisis, adding that President Buhari, having been rejected by Nigerians, is now using her (Zakari) as virus to compromise the independence of the commission, manipulate the electoral process and rig the presidential election for him.
Findings by newsmen revealed that Section 157(1) of the Constitution explained how a commissioner like Amina Zakari could be removed from office by the lawmakers.
According to the Constitution, Section 157 (1) said, “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.
“(2) 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.”
Ologbondiyan said: “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.
“The PPCO holds that 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.
“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.
“This 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.”
The party spokesman said that as long as Amina Zakari remains in INEC, the commission cannot be trusted.
The party further revealed that “following public outcry against her nomination, Amina Zakari’s agents, last 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.
“Also, 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.
“We therefore urge 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 realized that President Buhari cannot win the Presidential election.
“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.”
Ologbondiyan insisted that President Buhari will not be able manipulate the electoral processes and foist himself back to power against the wishes of Nigerians, adding, “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.”