9th January, 2019
STOP WITCH-HUNTING AMINA ZAKARI
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has waded into the controversy surrounding the appointment of Amina Zakari to the National Collation Centre of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The Islamic human rights organization has called upon those who are opposing her appointment to stop witch-hunting a female nominee. “It is chauvinistic, myopic and symptomatic of pathological paranoia. Wailers appear to be descending to the abyss of undue sentiment. We should be addressing issues at this stage, not personalities. It is petty, insipid and pedestrian. The mere fact that Amina Zakari’s appointment into INEC predated President Muhammadu Buhari’s assumption of office by several years should close this argument. It is a non-issue. “Also instructive is the fact that a prominent member of the opposition and a vocal critic of the Buhari administration himself admitted that he was the one who recommended Amina Zakari to former President Jonathan for employment in INEC. This admission alone is enough to dismiss all the cock and bull stories. “MURIC is of the humble opinion that the opposition is overdoing it this time around. The opposition camp is going paranoid. We do not have to be so desperate. Heaven is not going to fall because this woman is attached to the collation centre particularly after her role has been differentiated from that of the chief collating officer. “Besides, are we not trying to rob the womenfolk of another opportunity to play an effective role in the scheme of things in this country? Women have complained severally that men are taking all the slots. They are asking for more roles in all spheres. “We are nonplussed that women liberation groups are silent over this. We believe this is the time for women to be assertive. A woman who is well qualified for a job is being denied the right to serve. If indeed democracy is about equal opportunities, then this is a threat to democratic ideals.
“Merit should be the watchword. Is the woman qualified for the job? That is the question we should be asking and not subjective, suggestive and witch-hunt quarries. What is tangential is her curriculum vitae. Her tribal leaning and relationship with anyone is peripheral. Nigeria will not get it right until we drop sentiments and settle for standards.
“This woman was chairman of the Planning, Monitoring and Strategy Committee of INEC from November 2014. She had also chaired the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) of INEC and she was a former National Electoral Commissioner at INEC. This is experience incarnate. What else do we want? Why are we so difficult to satisfy? Must INEC appoint only nominees of the opposition? Is that when we will be satisfied?
“We are very disappointed hearing self-acclaimed activists and democratic demagogues shouting themselves hoarse in an attempt to force INEC to change its decision. It is unfair, unjust, illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional. Amina Zakari must not be removed. We stand solidly behind INEC on this matter. “MURIC charges INEC to remain resolute. Amina Zakari is a bona fide Nigerian. Nobody can Shugaba her. The worst those who oppose her appointment can do is to go to court. It is even an attempt to blackmail the presidency for anyone to start talking about moral on this matter. Was she appointed by this presidency?
“What else does the opposition want after INEC cleared the air on her role in the collation centre? Contrary to the claim being made by the opposition, Amina Zakari is not in charge of the collation of results. As the head of the Health and Welfare Committee of INEC, she is to oversee matters relating to health and welfare at the collation centre. How can this simple function generate so much hullabaloo?
As a parting shot, we demand respect for Allah-given fundamental human right of Amina Zakari. Her right to the dignity of her human person must be upheld in the same way that her right to hold office and to partake in the activities relating to her office and appointment as a bona fide Nigerian must not be abridged for any reason whatsoever. We therefore charge INEC to forge ahead and ignore professional wailers. Finally, we reiterate our full confidence in INEC as composed as an impartial referee capable of organizing a free and fair general election.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)