Mrs. Amina Zakari, a national commissioner at the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has finally spoken on her relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari.
“He is not my cousin, he is not my uncle as is being claimed but I know him as my leader and the leader of the nation,” she said in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, on Saturday.
The clarification was made in view of the controversy generated by the leading opposition party in the country, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, over Zakari’s relationship with the president.
The PDP claimed that she was the president’s niece and her position as the head of the collation centre of the 2019 general election was inappropriate.
The party argued that she might use the position to influence the outcome of the election to favour Buhari.
But in the interview on Saturday, Zakari said the claim by the PDP was wrong.
According to her, she had been appointed even before Buhari came to power and had been working as conscientiously as she could.
She described the current controversy as a distraction, just as she prayed that she should be allowed to concentrate.
“I don’t think I should be distracted now that elections are coming, I will continue doing my work.
“I will continue to serve my country to the best of my ability, with the best of intentions. President Muhammadu Buhari is my President as everybody else’s President.”
It would be recalled that the Presidency had also debunked the allegation that Zakari was a blood relation of the president.
In a statement issued by the president’s media aide, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Presidency said the claim amounted to harassing Zakari by the opposition.
The statement reads in part: “President Buhari and Commissioner Amina Zakari don’t share a family relationship. An inter-marriage occurred in their extended families, so the imputation of blood relationship between the President and the electoral commissioner is a simple lie.
“What is even more curious about all the fuss coming from the PDP is that they, as a ruling party picked Mrs Zakari, judging her by her own merit and made her an electoral commissioner.
“She served so well with distinction as can be verified from the records that President Buhari approved the recommendation that she be reappointed, as he did other PDP nominees for second-term of four years.
“PDP, therefore, has no moral right to keep harassing this hardworking mother unless they have a hidden agenda.
“By this statement, the PDP is guilty of scoring an own goal and two, of harassing an innocent citizen on the basis of a lie, pure and simple.”