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OPINION

Between Dr Junaid And INEC’s Amina Zakari

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I have gone through several interviews granted by the Kano-based politician and ex – federal lawmaker, Dr Junaid Mohammed who is well known for his frequent criticism of  President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. However, his recent interview published serially caught my attention because it contained a misinformation about a personality that l am acquainted with.

In his words in one of the interviews, which has been circulating in the social media, Dr Mohammed had stated “The national commissioner at INEC is Buhari’s niece. In addition, her husband who used to be a manager in UBA died. Now when an opportunity arose they went and picked the late husband’s younger brother and made him Director General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). He is Brigadier General Zakari from Kazaure in Jigawa State”

Although, the name of the personality Dr Mohammed  referred to which is apparently Amina Bala Zakari  a Federal  Commissioner in Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was not specifically mentioned, it is certain that she is the one the ex-lawmaker meant because her late husband Bala Zakari had worked with the United Bank for Africa (UBA) before his demise.

  It is unfortunate that the highly respected politician did not cross check his facts to ensure the information he presented for public consumption about a woman occupying a sensitive public position in INEC was accurate before the interview in a national daily.

Contrary to Dr Mohmmed’s statement that the Director General of the NYSC, Brigadier General Zakari is a brother to Amina Zakari’s late husband, the fact is that they are not related because the late Bala Zakari does not have a surviving brother. In addition, Amina Zakari is not President Buhari’s niece, because they are not blood relations.

As a woman l always feel pained whenever women in public offices are targeted for smear campaigns in the media. It is a similar challenge female politicians face. Most who venture to seek elective positions are blackmailed, visited with violence  and frustrated out of the race. This accounts for the continued inadequate representation of women who form a bulk of the population in government. With this negative trend one wonders how the nation intends to achieve sustainable development.

It is my belief that Amina Bala  Zakari  was reappointed by the Buhari administration because she performed well when she was  first appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010 and she served under the chairmanship of Professor Attahiru Jega. One other Federal Commissioner was also reappointed.  I still recall how l had watched her brilliant performance during the screening of those nominated for positions of INEC federal commissioners at the senate. l also watched how several others including ministerial nominees who did similar screening failed to meet our expectations but to the amazement of many they all scaled through!

Amina Bala Zakari certainly demonstrated at the occasion that she was at home with the operations of INEC. Unfortunately, many who believed that females from a particular part of the country do not deserve to be in crucial decision making positions overlooked this positive side. Sadly, in the contemporary world where there is an increase in the number of females leading their countries decades will roll by in Nigeria before our society becomes gender sensitive. 

My friendship with Amina Bala Zakari commenced during our days at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and we have remained good friends till today because she is not only detribalized but humble and patriotic despite her achievements. All her assistants in the office are from the southern part of the country while she is from Jigawa State. Amina really earned my admiration when she graduated from the Faculty of Pharmaceutical  Sciences as the best  student in 1980.

With this impressive background in academics l am not surprised that she has gone this far in public life.  As Federal INEC Commissioner, she has served for eight years without blemish or bad record, as such the least expected  of the society is to appreciate and encourage women in leadership positions who are doing well to motivate other females to aspire to the top.

– Mrs Ohioma Ali wrote this piece from Abuja                     



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