The Nigerian government Friday said President Muhammadu Buhari has no familial relationship with an official that will head the collation centre for presidential elections in February.
“President Buhari and Commissioner Amina Zakari don’t share a family relationship,” Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the Muhammadu Buhari, said in a statement on Friday.
“An inter-marriage occurred in their extended families, so the imputation of blood relationship between the President and the electoral commissioner is a simple lie,” he added.
Zakari was appointed on Thursday to chair the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) committee on collation centre during the 2019 election.
Her appointment stirred various debates across the country.
The opposition People’s Democratic Party said the appointment would compromise the presidential election, particularly on account of “her blood relationship” with Buhari who is a candidate in the poll.
PDP’s national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, described the appointment as a step towards destroying the future of democracy in Nigeria.
However, Shehu said the PDP’s statement is “another mendacious press release” with “baseless accusations”.
He pointed out that it “was the PDP government that appointed her in the first place.”
“What is even more curious about all the fuss coming from the PDP is that they, as a ruling party picked Mrs Zakari, judging her by her own merit and made her an electoral commissioner,” Shehu said.
Zakari was appointed as national commissioner in the INEC representing the entire seven states in the North-West under the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2011.
Zakari also chaired the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) with responsibility for party system consolidation. She was also the chairman of the INEC Planning Monitoring and Strategy Committee effective November 2014.