Against the backdrop of criticisms trailing the appointment of Mrs. Amina Zakari as Chairman of the Committee on National Collation Centre for the 2019 presidential election, the Zakari family has risen in defence of their daughter, denying insinuations that the INEC staffer and President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the APC presidential candidate, were blood relations.
The family said both of them couldn’t have blood ties as Buhari’s sister was married to Amina’s father for a brief period and died without bearing a child for the Zakari family.
They also insisted that Amina is not a blood relation of Buhari, even though her mother hailed from Daura, Buhari’s hometown.
In a statement signed by one Isah Zakari, the family described trending media reports on Amina, a National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and her perceived negative mission in the forthcoming election as “blatant lies” and a “ceaseless campaign of calumny orchestrated to pull her down”.
They accused the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, of maligning Amina Zakari by feeding the media with pieces of information that were “absolutely false, tendentious, malicious and highly reprehensible.”
The family described the public servant as a patriotic Nigerian who has served her country faithfully and honestly for years without blemish.
“We are, therefore, pained by the report that portrays Amina Zakari as working to sabotage INEC’s firm determination to advance the democratic journey by creating a conducive atmosphere for citizens to exercise their voting rights. “Contrary to the widespread belief, Amina Zakari is not a blood relation of President Buhari. Her mother was from Daura (born and bred in Kano) and she was not Buhari’s sister. It’s also true that Buhari’s sister was once married into the family. The union was short-lived and did not produce a child. This all happened well before Mrs. Zakari was born.
“Furthermore, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, the veteran Kano politician who first made the claim that she was born by Buhari’s sister has since recanted. Those who have held on to the claim are, therefore, either unaware of his recantation or they are simply incapable of letting go their prejudices in the face of facts to the contrary.
“It is laughable that Mrs. Zakari, who was appointed National Commissioner by former President Goodluck Jonathan under a PDP government, can no longer perform any function in INEC because she is a supposed relation of President Buhari.
“Mrs. Zakari has challenged anyone with evidence against her of any misdeed to come forth and prove their case. She has now served under three different Presidents in various capacities and has served her nation in a forthright and honest manner with the utmost humility and much sacrifice.
“It is rather unfortunate that she has now been thrown into the limelight in a vicious campaign to reduce her accomplishments to purported blood relationship while ignoring her vast and accomplished resume,” Zakari said.
The family argued that instead of celebrating their daughter to promote diversity and groom future female leaders, Nigerians were stuck on reducing Mrs. Zakari’s accomplishments to mere familial ties.
“If we begin to harangue and harass our officials for family ties (which they do not control) over competence, we shall have no one to serve. A cursory review of INEC and other institutions will reveal a wealth of family and professional ties and contradictions, does that mean everyone should resign?” the family asked.