By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
The controversy dogging the appointment of Mrs. Amina Bala Zakari as acting chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, by President Muhammadu Buhari, has continued with legal practitioners sharply divided on the matter. Whereas some of the lawyers who spoke to Sunday Vanguard faulted the appointment which they qualified as an impeachable offence against Buhari, others disagreed, saying the appointment was not in violation of extant provisions of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
The crisis kicked-off almost immediately after the President announced his choice of Zakari as interim replacement for the former INEC boss, Professor Attahiru Jega.
The appointment came notwithstanding the fact that the tenure of the Commissioner of INEC was due to lapse on July 21.
Jega had, on June 31, a day he bowed out of office, formally handed over to another INEC National Commissioner, Amb. Ahmed Wali, to function in acting capacity pending the recommendation and confirmation of a substantive Chairman for the commission .
However, barely eight hours after, Wali, who is due to retire on August 11, took over, an order from the Presidency directed him to relinquish the position to Zakari, who leading opposition voices have insisted is associated with Buhari.
Jega bowed out with six INEC National Commissioners who were appointed the same day with him- their tenure having expired.
The commissioners were M.K. Hammanga (Adamawa), Dr Ishmael Igbani (Rivers), Prof. Lai Olurode (Osun), Dame Gladys Nwafor (Abia), Mrs Thelma Iremiren (Delta) and Dr Nuru Yakubu (Yobe).
Remarkably, another National Commissioner, Abdulkadir Oniyangi, who was appointed the same time with Zakari, has since July 21, vacated his position, a development that has further raised feathers to the effect that the president may have overreached himself in proclaiming the Chairman of INEC without the consent of the Senate. Read More →