13 Political Parties Blast PDP, Support Buhari On New INEC Boss’ Appointment

The Coalition of Progressive Political Parties, an umbrella organisation for 13 registered political parties in Nigeria, has condemned the statement issued by the Peoples Democratic Party on the appointment of the acting chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission,

President Muhammadu Buhari had appointed Amina Zakari, acting chairman of INEC, hours after the outgoing chairman, Attahiru Jega, had handed over to Ahmad Wali.

The PDP condemned Mr. Buhari’s action and demanded its reversal.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday and signed by the chairman of the coalition, Bashir Ibrahim, the parties decried what they described as “the dangerous precedent whereby a political party is trying to decide for the country who becomes the INEC Chairman”.

Mr. Ibrahim said the appointment of the INEC chairman was constitutionally reserved for the president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the National Assembly.

In reference to a statement made in Abuja on Wednesday by the PDP spokesperson, Olisa Metuh, rejecting the appointment of Mrs. Zakari, the coalition warned that “any interference by political parties in the appointment of INEC officials is tantamount to politicising the process and the Commission itself, which is capable of creating dangerous schism in the Commission and generating unnecessary tension in the country.”

“INEC is an independent election management body which must be insulated from politics and irresponsible politicking,” Mr. Ibrahim said.

“The power of and procedure for the appointment of the Chairman of INEC is a constitutional matter and not subject of bargaining by political parties, especially those who are yet to come to terms with the fact that Nigeria is on a very strong change trajectory. INEC is also a regulator of political parties. It is an anomaly for the parties, which the Commission regulates, to dictate who becomes the its chairman. Obviously, for some parties, it is still midnight.

“Mrs. Zakari was not appointed to the Commission by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. She was appointed as INEC National Commissioner by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010 and by the time she was appointed acting INEC chairman, she had the distinction of being the most senior INEC National Commissioner in terms of time served.

“She is well educated and had served the Commission as chairman of a number of its committees, including the sensitive Election and Political Party Monitoring Committee during President Jonathan’s administration. If she is good to be a national commissioner of INEC and chairman of its committees under President Jonathan, then she is good to be the Commission’s acting chairman at any other time.”

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