Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has called for the removal of Mrs. Amina Zakari as acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, saying that her appointment does not conform with the 1999 Constitution.
The governor, who alleged that Zakari was President Muhammadu Buhari’s in-law, said her appointment was dangerous to democracy.
Fayose, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, argued that Section 153 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which established INEC and other federal commissions, did not make any provision for the appointment of Acting Chairman.
He called on all lovers of democracy in the country to rise in defence of the impartiality of INEC, which he described as the only factor that could sustain democracy.
The governor said the most honourable thing for President Buhari to do was to rescind the “unlawful appointment of Mrs. Zakari as INEC acting chairperson.”
According to him, since Zakari’s tenure as INEC National Electoral Commissioner had expired, she could not continue to preside legally on INEC affairs, except if duly appointed as substantive chairman of the commission as provided in Section 154 (1) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The statement read, “One of the major legacies bequeathed to Nigeria by the immediate past Peoples Democratic Party government was a free, fair and credible electoral process and President Buhari, who is a beneficiary of this legacy, must sustain this legacy by ensuring that the impartiality of the electoral umpire is unblemished by suspicions of partisanship and illegal appointments.”
“Two weeks ago, a respected former lawmaker and former civil servant, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, revealed that he knew Mrs. Zakari since childhood, and that her late father, a former Emir of Kazaure, was married to President Buhari’s elder sister.
“Alhaji Yakassai went on to reveal that President Buhari spent a significant part of his early years in the home of Amina Zakari’s father.
“This is enough to establish conviviality between Mrs. Zakari and President Buhari, whose party, the All Progressives Congress will be standing elections with other political parties this year and this will no doubt cast credibility aspersion on any election conducted by INEC headed by Mrs Zakari.”
Declaring the appointment as illegal, he stated that, “Section 154 (3) provided that the President shall consult the Council of State in exercising his powers to appoint a person as the chairman of INEC and there is no record of such consultation before the appointment of Mrs Zakari as INEC ‘acting chairperson.’
“The only requisite condition for Mrs Zakari to be acting as the chairman of INEC is that she must be a National Electoral Commissioner and her tenure as National Electoral Commissioner ended on July 21, 2015.”