By Kayode Olarewaju
The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has urged politicians and parties to focus more on how to realise their electoral goals in 2019 rather than paying attention to unnecessary issues.
The Lagos State Chairman of IPAC, Mallam Shakirudeen Olofin, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Friday.
Olofin was reacting to Thursday’s appointment of Mrs Amina Zakari by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as its Head of Collation Centre for the 2019 elections and to the criticisms it generated in some quarters.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has faulted Zakari’s appointment, saying it was a step by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to subvert the will of the people in 2019.
In a statement issued by the PDP spokesman, Mr Kola Ologbodiyan, on Thursday, the party alleged that Zakari was a blood relation of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Zakari’s new role, the party alleged, was to protect the president’s interests in 2019.
Olofin, however, said that the criticisms that had trailed Zakari’s appointment were unneccessary and mere distractions.
He said politicians and parties should rather spend time perfecting their strategies on winning the general elections rather than being pre-occupied by issues that should not concern them.
“We think the criticisms and controversies that have trailed the appointment of Zakari are unnecessary because it is not within the powers of political parties to appoint people for INEC.
“In a football match, the teams do not decide or bother about who the referee is. It is never done. Rather, they focus on how to win the match.
“The parties should be more focused and leave all these distractions. They should be on the drawing board planning for victory.They should leave INEC and Zakari to do their jobs,” he said.
Furthermore, Olofin said it was unfair to claim Zakari got the appointment because she was the president’s blood relation.
He pointed out that the she had always been in INEC where she even acted as the Chairman of the commission after the exit of Prof. Attahiru Jega.
Olofin added that IPAC believed Zakari’s appointment was not an aberration as she had also headed the commission’s ICT Department, which, he said, was related to her new responsibility.
The IPAC chairman urged political stakeholders to co-operate with INEC to deliver credible elections and refrain from acts that could create tension ahead of the polls.
Olofin also advised all eligible voters to actively participate in the electoral process to ensure the emergence of leaders of their choice.