Odumakin spoke as a guest on Channels TV programme, Sunrise Daily, on Tuesday.
He recalled that President Goodluck Jonathan, as part of reforms at INEC, had called on Civil Society Organisations to recommend someone who could take a position as a national commissioner at INEC.
Odumakin said el-Rufai told him of Zakari, who had worked under him as a Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.
The activist said, “I have read of accounts where it was stated that President Buhari nominated her. It was not the President. It was the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, who nominated her. When Jonathan came in 2010, his aide, the late Oronto Douglas, who was my brother and friend, approached the CSOs who were in the forefront of the fight to remove the cabal and he said his boss (Jonathan) had taken a decision to guarantee free and fair elections.
“He said he (Jonathan) does not want to know those who will be in INEC and therefore, he wants recommendations of credible Nigerians who could be in INEC. So, when Jonathan says he never knew Jega before his becoming INEC chairman, he was right.
“So, they were headhunting for credible people and that is why you have people like Prof. Jega, Lai Olurode, and the rest of them coming as independent people nominated. But in the case of Amina Zakari, when that committee was working, we did not even know (anyone from) North-West and then Nasir el-Rufai also came to be part of the anti-Yar’adua cabal movement and was part of the process and he said there was this woman that worked with him as health secretary when he was the FCT minister.
“He said she was very savvy and he spoke very well of her. He said she was abroad so it took about two or three days to get her CV which I collected from him and gave to Oronto Douglas. So, beyond seeing her name on paper, Jonathan did not know who she was.
“Check the records where she has been alleged to have played some roles, you always see el-Rufai being somewhere in a corner. So, we cannot have this woman. In fact, if there is honour, the best thing is for her to resign. She was nominated by el-Rufai.
“It is unfortunate that even our Presidency is lexically challenged to the point that they don’t know the definition of a niece. A niece, according to the Oxford dictionary, you don’t even need to go to the advanced level, is your brother or sister’s daughter or your brother-in-law or sister-in-law’s daughter. So how can you say she is not his niece?”
CDHR Demands Factors That Led Postponement Of Elections
The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) has demanded an investigation into the factors that led to the postponement of the elections.
The group also expressed disappointment with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the postponement of the elections.
INEC had announced the postponement of the elections earlier on Saturday by one week.
A statement by Malachy Ugwummadu, the CDHR President, noted that the postponement has cast “serious shadow on the integrity of the commission” to conduct credible elections.
The statement read: “The CDHR notes with utter disappointment the postponement of the 2019 general elections on account of general poor logistics. This development, just hours before the elections, raises so many questions as to the capacity of INEC to conveniently discharge on their mandate. The Presidential and National Assembly elections were postponed to February 23, 2019 while the Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections were postponed to March 9, 2019.
“This postponement has cast serious shadow on the credibility and integrity of the entire election process. As a contest, this unfortunate development has unwittingly created fertile grounds for competing political parties to discredit the process. International and local observers have mobilized at high costs and resources and are now demobilized. The entire economy and education sector in particular suffered the worst hit having been shut down for the period under review.
“By Section 15(a) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), INEC is vested with global powers and vires to organize, undertake and supervise all elections. Under Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2011 the same INEC drawing from the broad powers to organize and conduct elections can postpone an election earlier than scheduled but for the restricted reasons of insecurity, natural disaster or emergency. It is expected that concerns of logistics may not be profound enough to ground suspension of general elections over which huge budgetary allocations have been approved and received.
“Recall that both in 2011 and 2015 when there were such postponements the context are different from what we have just witnessed in the instant case where INEC consistently reassured the nation that the elections will hold with no possibility of postponement. On this score alone, INEC have not been truthful with the people since all the variables founding the bases of earlier assurances could not have changed in less than four hours to the election. The President, though a contestant, had in a national broadcast addressed the public on the scheduled election for today 16 February 2019. INEC itself has over a year ago released a comprehensive timetable of this election.
“In 2015 it was the executive through the National Security Advisor to then President Goodluck Jonathan and after due consultations with National Council of States and all stakeholders announced the postponement. What is more? We appreciate that at all times material to the postponement, the election materials including sensitive materials have been dispatched and a lot more already at their relevant locations. What happens to those materials? To what extent can the integrity of those materials already dispatched be guaranteed?
“In blaming INEC whose responsibility it is to generally organize the election, it should be recalled that it got caught in the interplay of power when the National Assembly foot-dragged on the consideration and approval of INEC budgetary allocation leaving them with serious time constraints in sourcing and procuring election materials. No doubt INEC trudged on as though all was well and even issued timetable and guidelines based on those assurances.”
The CDHR went on to make five demands: “An unequivocal apology to the Nigerian people and representatives of international communities that are here in the country; clear explanation from INEC as to the circumstance and exact reason why the election was postponed; a serious and thorough inquiry by an independent panel to ascertain what happened; appropriate sanction to relevant persons who failed in their responsibility and consequently took this decision in order to serve as a deterrent; consideration for decentralization and unbundling of INEC along the multifaceted responsibilities of that commission have now become imperative.”
Nigeria elections: Gani Adams blows hot over INEC postponement
He, however, warned the electoral umpire not to give further excuses, noting that already, the shift had a huge implication on the integrity of Nigeria, both in Africa and across the world.
Adams, in a statement he signed on Saturday, stated shift has raised questions about its level of preparedness.
He said: “Report of the non availability of sensitive and non sensitive election materials in about 15 states has raised questions on the credibility and level of preparedness of the electoral body, and the leadership of INEC should remember the inglorious story of the June 12 annulment that eventually draw the nation backward.
“I want to say that the one week window occasioned by the postponement will determine a lot of things about the Nigerian future, and there should be no inconclusive election, no excuse, either head or tail election must hold.
“Every plan is as good as its implementation. Ordinarily, the timing for the postponement is wrong, it should have come at least, two weeks before the election, not two hours to the day of election. And like every other Nigerians that have been reacting, I want to say it categorically, that it is sad that the electoral umpire had to shift the date of the election barely a few hours into the election.
“The biggest corruption is to rig an election. It is also frustrating that Nigerians gave up their livelihood. Businesses are put on hold across the country and Nigerians had to go through the same pain stocking assorted food stuffs, and staying at home just for them to cast their votes.
“But as a Nigerian who believe in peace and the unity of the country, I urge the INEC to prepare well and put its house in order for it to succeed in its duty to conduct free, fair and credible elections”, he said.
Nigeria elections 2019: How NYSC Corps members reacted to postponement of polls
DAILY POST had reported that INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, while addressing reporters at the press centre of the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, the nation’s capital, said that the polls would not go on as planned due to some challenges encountered by the commission.
He explained that the decision to postpone the polls followed a careful review of the implementation of the logistics and operational plans put in place for the exercise.
Some of the corps members, who served as INEC Ad-hoc staff, spoke to NAN in separate interviews in Kabba that they were disappointed.
Chika Ezeogu, a corps member, who was assigned to a Polling Unit in a remote village in Kabba/Bunu LGA, told NAN that the postponement came very late and few hours to the election.
“We had already received elections’ materials and proceeded to our various wards.
“We were very surprised when we received information on the postponement. It was not really good after going through a lot of stress,’’ Ezeogu said.
A male corps member, who spoke to NAN on conditions of anonymity, said he was shocked about the news as he never expected such to happen few hours to election.
He urged the INEC and the Federal Government to ensure effective planning in the future.
Another male corps member, who also spoke on conditions of anonymity, said that he had arranged the election materials at the polling unit when they received a message on the postponement.
“My polling unit is in a remote village with poor network, and we couldn’t access network until after 7 a.m.
“We had already arranged election materials waiting for 8 a.m to begin accreditation and voting, when we suddenly received the message.
“We have pledged our loyalty to Nigeria to serve our motherland and we don’t have a choice,’’ he said.
Another corps member said: “I am just advising our leaders to be proactive in whatsoever they do to avoid a reoccurrence of such.”
Meanwhile, the Assistant Director, Public Relations, NYSC, Mr Adedapo Tayo, commended the corps members for their resilience, cool headedness, which were great virtues that would pave way for them in future.
Tayo, who is the NYSC Monitoring Officer for 2019 elections in Kabba, Mopamuro, Yagba East, and West LGAs, commended the corps members’ commitment to the service of their motherland.
“The corps members were trained and sensitised to how to conduct themselves during the elections.
“They accepted the postponement when it came, and went back to their various posts.
“So, we praise the DG NYSC, for the intensive sensitisation of corps members, to ensure they conduct themselves well,’’ Tayo said.
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