Collation Committee: Osita Defends PDP, Asks Zakari To Recuse Herself

PPCO spokesman Osita Chidoka

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on Mrs Amina Zakari to be decent following her appointment as the chairperson of the Collation Centre Committee for the general elections.

A spokesperson for the party’s Presidential Campaign Council, Mr Osita Chidoka, made the call during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.

Despite the explanation by the Presidency and that Mrs Zakari and President Muhammadu Buhari are not related by blood, Chidoka insisted that she should reject her appointment by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“We expected her to say, ‘President Buhari is a member of my family, even if it is not a blood relationship, I will not be party to the process of electing him as a President,” the former minister said.

“She remains an INEC commissioner, she could have just been decent enough to say I recuse myself. I think that there is a case of morality.”

Still on the issue of morality, Chidoka asked the President to set new standards and “ not go back to the level the country needs to get away from.”

READ ALSOZakari: PDP Cannot Impose ‘Its Own Interpretation Of Fair Play’ On Nigerians – Keyamo

He stressed that the controversy on the appointment would have been needless if Mrs Zakari was a legal officer or a judge and someone said he doesn’t want her to handle his case.

The PDP member further described the comments by the INEC commissioner on her relationship with the President as unusual.

According to him, her reappointment by the President raises an eyebrow after she was appointed by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

PDP Asks Zakari To Be ‘Decent’, Recuse Herself From AppointmentA file photo of Mrs Amina Zakari

Chidoka said, “I hear the President said that she is actually not related by blood, but they are related because his sister got married to her father and so, she’s a niece actually. I find it strange that she said she is not related to President Buhari.”

“They said the PDP appointed her, yes, the PDP appointed her in 2010. The President reappointed her as a national commissioner after he made her acting Chairman of INEC,” he added.

“If we are to go by the fact that she is a relative, she ought not to have been appointed by the President. Let’s assume there is no law against that in Nigeria; but moral standards, some form of good behaviour.”

Buhari Vows To Maintain ‘Non-Interference’ Policy In General Elections

President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will uphold the standard of free and fair elections by ensuring “non-interference” in the coming polls.

Speaking at the inauguration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council on Monday, he noted that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has consistently conducted fair elections since 2015.

“We have insisted that votes must count and have maintained a policy of non-interference in elections,” the President told APC members at the International Conference Centre in Abuja.

“Let me reiterate my commitment to free and fair elections. If there is one legacy I want to leave, is the enthronement of democracy as a system of government.

“And for democracy to be enthroned, elections must be free and fair. That means citizens have a right to vote,” he added.

President Buhari informed members of the council that with about 40 days to the elections, the task before them would be enormous as they would have to cover all corners of the country to sell the progress of the party so far.

“Though we will all be deeply involved, I would like to assure the nation that I will do my part without making governance or my work suffer.

“Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, my co-chairman, will be fully in charge, and he is going to be on 24-hour vigil,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesman, Mr Garba Shehu.

The President urged all those in the leadership of the campaign – in the field operations on the campaign trail and in the secretariat – to consult with Tinubu whenever guidance was needed.

He stressed the need for campaigns to be conducted with a high level of decorum and asked the council to resist all forms of provocation and remain focused as they engage citizens on issues.

President Buhari reminded them to compare the results on economy, security and corruption with past administrations led by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“We have in the last three years and six months reversed this downward slide that the PDP took us in its 16 years of misrule,” he alleged.

The President added, “We have restored the territorial integrity of our nation, thanks to our gallant men and women of our armed forces. We are systematically engaged in all the remaining corridors of insurgency, kidnappings, robberies, herdsmen and farmers clashes.

“We have reset our national values; corruption is no longer condoned and is no longer seen as normal for public office holders. The agencies of government are no longer equivocal in dealing with anyone who flouts our laws.”

“The high and low are receiving jail terms, loots are being recovered, and Nigerians are increasingly displaying the timeless values of honesty, honour and decency. I congratulate us all for making these changes possible,” he told the audience at the event.

President Buhari was confident that there has been infrastructural development nationwide with prudent management of resources and the economy, pointing out roads, railways and improved power supply as signposts of a growing country.

He explained that Nigerians voted the administration into power in 2015 because of the trust and confidence that it would make a great difference.

“A victory for us as a party is a victory for all well-meaning Nigerians, who are committed to changing from an inglorious past,” the President added.

On his part, the Director General of the council and Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, said the campaigns would be properly coordinated to ensure a focus on issues, rather than sentiments.

General Elections: Amosun Assures Buhari Of “Massive Votes” From Ogun

The Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, has assured President Muhammadu Buhari of massive votes from the state ahead of next month’s presidential election.

Addressing journalists on Sunday at the State House in Abuja, the governor said he is confident that President Buhari will coast to victory in the coming polls.

He said, “I think its proper for us to come and say Happy New Year to him and to reassure him of our unalloyed support and to ensure that in the coming election, in the context of the south-west, Ogun State is not left behind and that we are going to give him a massive vote that has never seen in the history of Ogun state.

“I know that Mr President has already won the election because if you see his work, it speaks for him”.

Read Also: Amosun Leads APM Governorship Candidate To Meet Buhari

Speaking further, he applauded the President for his efforts in boosting agriculture, infrastructure and the economy through various programmes.
According to him, through the initiatives, the middle class is gradually being brought back.

“Gradually, Mr President is bringing back the middle class through all the infrastructure that he is putting in place, the revolution that he is bringing to bear in agriculture, all the social safety nets that he is bringing on board, N-Power, Tradermoni and all of those things and gradually, the middle-class is coming back,” Amosun said.

Rivers People Will End The Dictatorial Tendencies Of Political Godfathers – Gov Wike

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that 2019 General Elections will be used by Rivers people to put an end to the dictatorial tendencies of political godfathers.

Governor Wike also stated that Rivers politics cannot be controlled by any single politician, because it is not a State in the South-West where a political godfather has usurped the mandate of the people.

Speaking during the dedication of the 2019 PDP Campaigns at the Cathedral Church of Saint, Port Harcourt on Sunday, Governor Wike said if Rivers people allow political godfathers to succeed in planting their godsons, they will suffer the consequences.

READ ALSO: SERAP To Fashola: Publish Names Of Contractors Who Disappeared With Project Money

“If you allow Rivers State to be like one of the states in the south-west, we will all suffer for it.

“Luckily for us, we don’t speak one language. Therefore, it is very difficult for any leader from an ethnic nationality to control the entire state. In that South-West state, a political godfather says something against a sitting governor and it happened.

“2019 will be the end of dictatorial tendencies in our politics”, he said.

Governor Wike prayed God to grant INEC and Police the courage to act in line with their constitutional roles during the 2019 General elections.

He said: “The Police should not be professionals in the rigging of elections. We will resist any attempt to rig the elections and the votes of the people must count”.

The governor urged Rivers people to be courageous as they work in unity towards the victory of the PDP in the state.

Governor Wike said that the Rivers PDP Campaign will be issue based, relying on the achievements of the administration to convince the people for another mandate.

He said for every Local Government Area, his administration has planted key projects in line with the New Rivers Development Blueprint.

He said that the PDP decided to dedicate the campaign to God because it is a tradition that has worked for the good of the party.

The governor called for three days of prayers by Christian Faithful for peaceful and credible polls. He warned politicians against promoting violence during the elections.

General Elections: Has Buhari Dealt With The Cabal, Fayose Asks Aisha

Former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose has said Nigerians cannot take Aisha Buhari’s push for the reelection of President Mummadu Buhari serious until the first lady can clarify that the government is not under the influence of ‘the cabal’.

The President’s wife had alleged during an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation, Hausa Service, that the government was being influenced by a cabal.

Reacting to this claim, President Buhari told Voice of America that allegations regarding a cabal influencing his government are baseless.

READ ALSO: Aisha Buhari Faults APC Primaries, Claims Some Aspirants Got Automatic Tickets

He insisted there was no cabal running his government and asked his critics to name one decision taken by the cabal.

On Thursday, January 3, Dame Aisha Buhari displayed the 4+4 years symbol in support of President Buhari’s re-election, a gesture that stirred various reactions in the media.

Reacting the First Lady’s latest show of support for the president’s re-election campaign, Fayose said Dame Aisha must explain what has happened to the cabal that she said is affecting the smooth operations of the present administration.

The Southwest Coordinator of the Atiku/Obi Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign said Aisha Buhari owes Nigerians an explanation on the state of things as regards interferences of the cabal in running the nation’s affairs.

Fayose said the First Lady needs to address the issues she raised about the Buhari-led administrations telling Nigerians honestly if those issues have been adequately dealt with before she can rally Nigerians to vote for the president’s re-election.

PDP Faults Presidency’s Statement On Amina Zakari, Asks Her To Resign

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has insisted that an INEC national commissioner, Mrs Amina Zakari, is related to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The opposition party made the assertion in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan.

It was responding to an earlier statement in which the Presidency said although an inter-marriage occurred in their extended families, the claim of blood relationship between the President and Zakari was a lie.

The Presidency had issued the statement in reaction to the controversy trailing the appointment of Mrs Zakari as the chairperson of the collation centre committee for the general elections.

Reacting to the clarification by INEC on the role of Zakari in the polls, the PDP stated, “President Muhammadu Buhari’s admittance that he has an inter-marriage relationship with Mrs Amina Zakari has vindicated its stance that she cannot be trusted with the collation of the presidential election results.”

Buhari And Zakari Don’t Share Family Relationship, Presidency Replies PDP
President Buhari Is Not My Cousin, He Is Not My Uncle – Amina Zakari

The party asked the President to respond criticism by second republic lawmaker, Junaid Mohammed, about two years ago that he allegedly pushed for the appointment of Zakari to represent his interest at the commission.

It alleged further that in addition to the relationship by affinity, President Buhari has not denied that he started his early childhood in the house of the INEC official’s father.

“President Buhari’s admittance has effectively established that the PDP has not been crying wolf on the impropriety of involving Mrs Amina Zakari in the collation of presidential election results, let alone being appointed to head the final determination of the presidential election,” the PDP said.

“Even in the judiciary, judges recuse themselves in cases involving parties they have an affinity with. Mrs. Amina Zakari must, therefore, recuse herself, if the 2019 presidential election must be credible.”

The opposition party queried why the President supposedly insisted that Zakari must be in INEC if there was no ulterior motive being pushed.

It, therefore, challenged President Buhari to allow INEC to have a free hand to conduct the elections, to test his popularity among Nigerians.

“Nigerians expect her to quietly resign from INEC,” the PDP told Zakari.

While President Buhari has since insisted that he would continue to ensure the independence of the electoral body, Mrs Zakari told BCC in an interview that she is not a blood relation to the President.