Late on Tuesday, office of the Head of Service of the Federation announced the appointment of Amina Bala Zakari as the acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission despite the handing over of the commission to Muhammad Ahmad Bala by the former Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega.
Director of Communications for the office, Haruna Imrana, publicly announced the appointment in a three-paragraph statement Tuesday night. The statement also said she will remain in office until a substantive Chairman is appointed.
HOMELAND NEWS learnt that Mrs. Zakari’s tenure as a National Commission in INEC will elapse in 2 weeks.
A source very close to the commission told HOMELAND NEWS that the confusion began when Prof. Jega’s letter requesting a directive on who to hand over to did not receive any response. On Tuesday, his last day in office, Prof. Jega handed over to Ambassador Bala who still have 2 months in INEC as a National Commissioner. The source said the former Chairman reasoned that 2 months will be enough for government to find a substantive Chairman for the commission.
But that seemed contrary to the consideration of the federal government.
Some observers have queried why the federal government had to wait till the last minute to announce a replacement for a man who had made public his lack of interest to continue in office.
A legal practitioner, Monday Ubani said there seem to be a communication gap existing somewhere. A situation he said is clearly not healthy for the new government. He wondered why all the issues of who will take over from Prof. Jega had to be left until the when the man had handed over to another National Commissioner.
According to INEC website, Mrs Zakari who hails from Jigawa state attended Queens College Lagos and later graduated with a Bachelor of Science (B.sc) degree in Pharmacy in 1980 from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. With a Second Class Upper degree, she was the best graduating student in her class.
After her National Youth Service, she worked as a pharmacist in various hospitals between 1983 and 1996. She then moved into the consultancy field to serve in various capacities as a consultant in health and social services from 1997 up till her appointment as National Commissioner in INEC.
She was a Special Assistant to President Olusegun Obasanjo and was deployed to the Federal Capital Territory Administration where she, between 2004 and 2007, served as Secretary of Health, Human Services and Social Development, and later that of Agriculture and Rural Development.