The Amina Zakari storm

By SnrMgr at 2019-01-07 • 0 collector • 241 pageviews

In 2010, when Dr. Goodluck Jonathan assumed office following the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, he promised us electoral reform. He launched a campaign on “one man, one vote; one woman, one vote; one youth, one vote”. He started to speak about “credible elections”, steering our vocabulary away from “free and fair elections”. This was partly in response to the ridiculous 2007 elections that brought him and Yar’Adua to power. It could well be that 2007 was not the worst in Nigeria’s history, but INEC, under the leadership of the inimitable Prof. Maurice Iwu, had conducted itself in such a way that people had to classify the body as a unit of the PDP, the ruling party then.

Yar’Adua himself was embarrassed by the conduct of the 2007 elections. He admitted that much in his inauguration speech. Iwu’s INEC allocated 24,638,063 votes to him and 6,605,299 to Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, the candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP, a legacy party of the All Progressives Congress, APC). Up till today, there is no state-by-state breakdown of the election results because they were still being collated and announced at the state level when Iwu pronounced Yar’Adua the overall winner in Abuja. Yar’Adau later set up the Justice Mohammed Uwais committee on electoral reforms with a promise to deal with the anomalies.

On succeeding Yar’Adua in 2010, Jonathan removed Iwu as INEC chairman, a major signal that he was serious about electoral reforms. He appointed Prof. Attahiru Jega, a respected university teacher and former president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), as Iwu’s replacement. Jonathan also nominated two commissioners into INEC — Dr. Abdulkadir Sulaiman Oniyangi and the woman known as Mrs Amina Zakari (nee Husaini Adamu). Both were sworn in on July 21, 2010 at the Council Chambers. Eight and a half years later, Mrs Zakari would become the hottest topic of discussion on the credibility of elections in Nigeria. That’s the way life goes.

According to the rumour mill, Zakari is a niece of President Muhammadu Buhari. That means she will rig the presidential election in favour of her uncle to keep Aso Rock within the family, in the opinion of those opposed to her playing a major role in the elections. The rumour that she is Buhari’s niece was attributed to Alhaji Tanko Yakassai in 2015. He would later deny saying so. But Dr. Junaid Muhammad, a political associate of Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, has also been quoted as saying Mrs Zakari is Buhari’s niece and elder sister to Senator Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation. Since she is also sister to Alhaji Sulaiman Adamu, minister of water resources, it is a Buhari family affair then.

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