Nigeria: 2019 - INEC Appoints Controversial Official, Zakari, Head Key Election Committee

Amina Zakari

The independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has appointed Amina Zakari, a controversial national commissioner who once headed the agency on an interim basis, as the head of its Collation Centre Committee.

This was revealed during the swearing-in of the committee and another on logistics by INEC's chairman, Mahmood Yakubu.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has repeatedly demanded the removal of Mrs Zakari as a national commissioner of INEC, after accusing her of helping the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to rig elections, including the Ekiti state governorship election.

She was first appointed the acting chairman of INEC by President Muhammadu Buhari after the tenure of Atahirru Jega ended and before the current chairman, Mr Yakubu, was appointed.

She was formerly the head of electoral operations and logistics before she was redeployed to the commission's department of health and welfare following PDP's demand for her removal.

The chairman of the commission while inaugurating the committee said it was part of preparations for the general elections that begin in about six weeks time.

"Today, the Commission is taking another step in our determination to ensure seamless preparations for the 2019 General Elections. As we move closer to the elections, the Commission has decided to set up two (2) ad hoc Committees to drive important components of the electoral process. The first Committee is responsible for electoral logistics," Mr Yakubu said.

He said the commission was aware that the conduct of a general election is the biggest and most complex logistics operation a nation can undertake, as sensitive and non-sensitive materials must be delivered to almost 200,000 locations nationwide, ranging from the polling units to the various wards, local governments, states and the national collation centres for the 1,558 constituencies in which elections will be conducted.

"For the 2019 General Elections, the Electoral Logistics Committee will be responsible for coordinating logistics support as well as the clearance and transportation of election materials to various locations nationwide."

"The committee includes relevant security agencies whose roles according to the chairman are clearly defined in Section 29(3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

"The second ad hoc committee, which is entirely internal to the Commission, would be responsible for the national collation center from where the results of the election will be announced."

Just as in 2015, INEC said it will use the International Conference Centre (ICC) in Abuja and that the management of the centre has approved the commission's request to once again use the venue in 2019.

"It will serve as the secretariat for collation of results and venue for briefing of international observers and the media.

"It will also be accessible to agents of the seventy-three (73) political parties fielding candidates in the presidential election," he said.

He also said facilities such as power, access to the internet, live transmission for national and international media as well as accreditation for access to the ICC and security of the venue shall be handled by the committee.

The chairman also revealed the commission will meet with the national leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Friday at 4 p.m.

According to him, the purpose of the meeting is to discuss the ongoing strike by the Union but only in relation to our preparations for the General Elections because it is concerned that the bulk of critical election duty staff is drawn from the universities.

"We are determined to ensure that processes are not affected by the Union's industrial action. ASUU is a critical partner to the Commission in delivering credible elections. We look forward to the meeting and we are confident of a positive outcome" he said.

"The Commission has similarly contacted another critical partner, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). We are already in partnership with one of its affiliate unions, the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), with which we recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the movement of personnel and materials on election day. The Commission plans to meet with the NLC next week."

Below are members of the committees

Committee on Electoral Logistics:

National Commissioner AVM Ahmed Tijjani Mu'azu - Chairman

National Commissioner, Abubakar Nahuche- Member

National Commissibner, Mohammed Haruna- Member

Central Bank of Nigeria- Member

Nigeria Customs Service- Member

Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria- Member

Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC)- Member

Nigeria Immigration Service -Member

The Nigeria Police Force-/Member

Nigeria Security & Civil Defence Corps- Member

The Department of State Services -Member

Nigerian Army- Member

Nigerian Navy- Member

Nigerian Air Force- Member

Director, Electoral Operations Department, INEC -Member

Director, Estate Works & Transport, INEC- Member

Director, Procurement INEC- Member

Director Stores- Member/Secretary

Committee on Collation Centre

National Commissioner, Amina Bala Zakari- Chairman

National Commissioner Anthonia Okoosi-Simbine- Chairman

National Commissioner, Festus Okoye- Member

Chief Technical Adviser to the Chairman, Bolade Eyinla- Member

Chief Press Secretary to Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi- Member

Director, ICP Department, INEC- Member

Director, ICT Department, INEC-Member

Director, EPM Department, INEC- Member

Director, Security Department, INEC- Member

Director, P&M department, INEC- Member

Director, Health Services Department, INEC- Member

Director, Commission Secretariat, INEC- Member/Secretary.

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