Ologbondiyan, who is also the director, Media and Publicity of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation (PPCO), said the choice of Zakari is a recipe for political crisis.
“With the appointment of Zakari as head of the collation of presidential results, the INEC chairman is setting the stage for a very huge political crisis, which is capable of derailing the nation’s democratic process.
“With Amina Zakari at the head of results collation, there is no way votes cast by Nigerians will count. You will recall that we have been raising the flag on how the Buhari Presidency, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and some individuals at the echelon of INEC have been seeking ways to compromise our electoral processes and open the way for the allocation of fictitious votes to President Muhammadu Buhari, having realized that he cannot win in a credible, free and fair polls.
“Today, we have been informed that the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, apparently in furtherance of the plots to rig the presidential election, has appointed Mrs. Amina Zakari, a blood relation (niece) of the APC candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, as the chairperson of INEC Advisory Committee and Presidential election Collation Center Committee.
“The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organization (PPCO) outrightly, vehemently and unequivocally rejects, in its entirety, the appointment of Mrs. Amina Zakari, President Buhari’s blood relation, as the head of the collation of results, in the same election in which his uncle, President Buhari, as a candidate, has displayed a huge desperation to win.
“In appointing Mrs. Amina Zakari to head the collation of this Presidential election, Prof. Yakubu has confirmed that he has been compromised and that he has already succumbed to pressure by the Buhari Presidency and APC to open the way for the self-succession of President Buhari.
“The fact remains that there is no way Amina Zakari will not allocate votes to her blood relation, President Buhari, who Nigerians have indicated clearly that they are not ready to return to office as president.
The PDP spokesman recalled that Zakari was the head of the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Department in INEC, at the time the department was accused of allegedly manipulating the voter register to accommodate fictitious, underage and alien voters, especially in remote areas. He added that the same National Commissioner was alleged to have played some roles in the 2018 Osun State governorship poll, which was trailed by allegations of electoral malpractices.
Ologbondiyan stated that if the INEC chairman wanted a peaceful presidential election, he should reverse the the appointment immediately.
“For us to have a peaceful election, Mrs. Amina Zakari should not be seen anywhere near any of the 2019 election processes, not to talk of being involved in the collation of Presidential results,” he added.
He called on the National Peace Committee and the international community to take note of the develop- ment.
Notwithstanding the criticisms and misgivings, Zakari has assured that her Committee wwould be just and open in the delivery of the responsibility assigned to it.
Also appointed into the Zakari-committee are National Commissioners, Anthonia Okoosi-Simbine, Festus Okoye, Chief Technical Adviser to the INEC Chairman, Bolade Eyinla, Chief Press Secretary, Rotimi Oyekanmi, Directors for ICP Department, ICT Department, EPM Department, Security Department, P&M department, Health Services Department, while the Director of Commission Secretariat, will serve as Secretary.
Yakubu who also revealed that the commission would meet with the national leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), reassured that everything is in place for the polls.
“I wish to reassure Nigeri- ans that we are on course to deliver credible elections in 2019. Let me also seize this opportunity to confirm that the Commission will meet with the national leadership of ASUU on January 4, 2019 at 4pm.
“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. We are concerned that the bulk of critical election duty staff are 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 noted.
He said the Commission has similarly contacted 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,” he said.