A non-governmental organisation and pro-democracy group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has given the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) 48 hours to rescind its appointment of Amina Zakari to head its electoral committee for the collation of results.
HURIWA likened the appointment to “match-fixing”, saying it shows clear signs that the forthcoming presidential poll has already been “technically manipulated”, following the choice “of a biological relation of President Muhammadu Buhari, Mrs. Amina Zakari, to head the core committee to co-ordinate the collation of results of the general election”.
HURIWA has also asked the National Assembly to declare a state of electoral emergency and pass a vote-of-no-confidence in the hierarchy of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
They have also supported calls for dissolution of the election management board and the appointment of a new team of “impartial and patriotic Nigerians to head the electoral umpire and conduct free, fair, transparent and unbiased general election”.
A statement by Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and Zainab Yusuf, the group’s National Coordinator and National Media Affairs Director, respectively, read: “We have just ended a six hours long national emergency parley in Abuja of our core national leaders and the leaderships of over 35 non-governmental organisations and our attention dovetailed into the emerging but very extensively ethically damaging national emergency now occasioned by the illegal and immoral appointment of Mrs Amina Zakari, the blood relation of President Muhammadu Buhari, to head the collation of results team for the most strategic national election in Nigeria’s nascent democracy, in which her uncle, President Muhammadu Buhari, is desperately interested in winning a second tenure and is hotly contested by some distinguished Nigerians.
“This aberration of this heavily compromised INEC is like making a sister of a goalkeeper of one of the two competing football teams as the central referee of the most competitive finalists’ match and you expect that there will be fair play and justice. Doing such a morally damaging action is like match-fixing. What has happened today in INEC, with the ill-advised decision of Yakubu Mahmood to give the most sensitive appointment to the biological sibling of a major contender in the same electoral contest, amounts to the electoral equivalent of match fixing.
“This current chairman of INEC is surely an agent of destabilisation and electoral manipulation. We have, on many occasions asked for the removal of the duo of the chairman of INEC and the niece of the president, Mrs Zakari Amina, who is a national commissioner in INEC because we have always maintained that she has played less than dignified roles as INEC’s national commissioner in the last three years to such an extent that almost all of the elections conducted in the last three years in which she played pivotal supervisory roles have always ended up being manipulated in favour of the political platform of her uncle and the All Progressives Congress whose tendencies have whittled down the integrity and credibility of the electoral process in the country.
“We are giving the INEC chairman 48 hours to rescind this toxic decision or the organised civil society community will meet and take a range of actions to draw the attention of the global community to this criminality and outright rigging that has already started to unfold.
“Nigerians of good conscience must reject this criminality of INEC and we call on the National Assembly to rescue the February presidential election from the clutches of hawks in the presidency bent on rigging the election by all means and foisting an unpopular winner on Nigerians, which may snowball into long drawn civil strife with broad-based consequences for the survival of constitutional democracy.
“Nigeria is about to be destroyed through carefully choreographed electoral heist and the world watches without acting to stave off the danger which could constitute the greatest threat to Africa and the world.”