Confusion looms as President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Mrs Amina Bala Zakari as the Acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, following the expiration of Professor Attahiru Jega’s five-year tenure.
It was gathered that the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation Barr. Danladi Kifasi conveyed the appointment in a letter, stating that it is with effect from Tuesday, June 30, 2015 until the appointment of a substantive Chairman.
Jega initially handed over the reins of power to Ahmed Wali as the Acting Chairman of the body but after about eight hours, Buhari overruled the appointment and replaced him with Mrs Zakari who is presently a National Electoral Commissioner at INEC and is due for retirement in Friday, July 31, 2015.
Among the six commissioners who retired with Jega were Cojl. 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).
Speaking with journalists shortly after his retirement, Jega expressed immense gratitude for being availed the opportunity to serve the nation.
He said, “We feel great; we thank God Almighty for the opportunity to serve the country. The future is bright for the commission and the country.”
Though the brief hand-over ceremony was a closed-door event, secretary to the commission, Augusta Ogakwu, told Vanguard that it was just for the former chairman to hand over to another person since the Federal Government has not appointed a substantive chairman for the commission.
According to her, Wali was selected for the post because his tenure will expire on August 11, 2015 and it is expected that the Federal government must have appointed a substantive replacement to man the electoral body.
She said, “It was just a brief ceremony for the chairman to hand over to one of the commissioners, Amb. Wali, whose tenure will expire on August 11 and the Chairman has handed over to him pending the appointment of a substantive chairman by the government or pending when his tenure expires but we believe that we will soon hear from the government what will happen next.”