A reliable news agency has confirm authoritatively today that President Muhammadu Buhari did not endorse Mr.Mohammed Wali as acting chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission because of his links with the Peoples Democratic Party.
Wali is a brother of Senator Abdallah Wali, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the April election in Sokoto state.
‘The two Walis are of the same mother and father, the same compound”, said a source close to the dramatic change by President Muhammadu Buhari, few hours after Professor Attahiru Jega, handed over to Wali after five years in the saddle.
Wali is a national commissioner of INEC from Sokoto state.
“There is a feeling that with the Sokoto governorship tussle still before the court, and INEC a party in the case, Mohammed Wali’s position may be compromised”, said the source.
“The presidency now has a feeling that the three-hour INEC boss was PDP’s man and that explained why PDP was attacking President Buhari’s choice later on, apart from the fact that Buhari is empowered constitutionally to appoint an acting or substantive INEC chairman”, the source added.
PDP’s spokesman, Olisa Metuh had attacked President Buhari for naming Amina Bala Zakari as the Commission’s Acting Chairman. Amina from Jigawa state, was also a national commissioner at INEC.
The PDP charged that Amina Bala Zakari may be a loyalist of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from Nigeria’s northwest zone, an accusation that points back at the party itself that Wali may also have been a stooge of PDP.
Mr. Metuh said that the PDP was deeply disturbed by the development in INEC, wondering why President Buhari, who knew all along that Mr. Jega would leave office by June 30, had to wait for the outgoing Chairman to hand over to one of the National Commissioners only for the President to reverse the situation immediately. According to the PDP spokesman, the development was likely to inject bad blood in the Commission.
“The situation in INEC since the PDP government reformed and granted it operational autonomy has been peaceful, but Tuesday’s untidy overruling of Professor Jega and appointing of Mrs. Amina Zakari as Acting Chairman which, we gathered, was influenced by personal relationship with the Presidency and one of the new Governors of the North West, ostensibly to pave the way for the APC at the electoral tribunals, has completely eroded public trust in the commission,” said Mr. Metuh.
But In a statement, media adviser to the President, Femi Adesina said Metuh’s attack lacked any factual foundation.
“President Buhari certainly did not “overrule” Prof. Attahiru Jega in appointing Mrs Amina Zakari as the Acting INEC Chairman, as Mr Metuh alleged.
“Prof. Jega’s purported handing over to another Commissioner cannot be construed as an “appointment” because only the President has the constitutional authority, which he exercised to appoint Mrs Zakari as acting Chairman of INEC.
”Contrary to Mr Metuh’s allegations, President Buhari’s appointment of Mrs Zakari as Acting INEC Chariman was based entirely on merit, her vast experience in the internal operations of INEC and the President’s commitment to affirmative action in support of gender equality, because, apart from being fully qualified for the position, Mrs Zakari was the only woman among the six Commissioners considered.
“Due Process was certainly followed in Mrs Zakari’s appointment. Mr Metuh’s spurious claims of her appointment having been influenced by “personal relationship with the Presidency” and a Governor in the North-West “to pave the way for the APC” at election tribunals should be disregarded by the public.
“The allegations are nothing but falsehoods contrived by Mr Metuh to unjustly denigrate a President popularly elected by Nigerians to undo the damage done to the nation by years of PDP rule.