Despite the current opposition to her candidature especially from the Peoples Democratic Party, President Muhammadu Buhari may soon confirm the appointment of the acting chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mrs. Amina Zakari, The PUNCH has learnt.
Our correspondent learnt on Wednesday that Buhari may soon name Zakari the substantive chairman of the electoral body therefore foreclosing speculations that he may appoint somebody from outside the commission as Prof. Attahiru Jega’s successor.
A source close to the arrangement told The PUNCH that the President had decided to confirm Zakari’s appointment instead of shopping for another chairman for INEC.
The source, who pleaded anonymity because she is neither the spokesperson for INEC nor that of the Federal Government, said Zakari’s appointment would be confirmed early enough to enable her to oversee preparations for the governorship elections holding in Kogi and Bayelsa states this year.
The source added that once the appointment of a substantive chairman was sorted out, the government would thereafter go ahead to fill the vacant positions of national commissioners.
“It is almost certain that the President will soon confirm Mrs. Zakari’s appointment. She may be named the substantive chairman of INEC soon. The President does not seem to be interested in shopping for a chairman from outside the commission,” she said.
Buhari had on June 30 appointed Zakari as the acting chairman of the electoral body following Jega’s retirement.
Until her appointment, Zakari was a National Commissioner at INEC.
A statement by Haruna Imrana, Director of Communications for the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, said she would be in charge until the appointment of a substantive chairman.
Jega had earlier handed over to Ambassador Ahmed Wali, one of the commissioners at INEC.
Zakari’s appointment attracted criticisms with the opposition PDP claiming that she is the President’s in-law, an allegation she had denied
Some stakeholders have also been describing Zakari’s appointment as the acting INEC boss as unconstitutional, hinging their position on the fact that her appointment as national commissioner had expired on July 22.
They argued that Zakari was appointed to act as the chairman by virtue of her appointment as a national commissioner and now that her appointment has elapsed, she ceases to be a member of the commission.
Reacting to that position however, presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, had told The PUNCH that in appointing the acting INEC chairman, the President only exercised his powers as provided for in Sections 154 and 318 of the constitution.
“The appointment is covered by Sections 154 and 318 of the 1999 Constitution. The constitution empowers the President to appoint the woman in an acting capacity. It also covers the appointment even if her tenure has expired,” Adesina had said.