Nigeria’s President Denies Family Ties to Electoral Commissioner

(Bloomberg) -- Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said he wasn’t related to a person newly appointed to a key role at the electoral commission ahead of a February vote in which he will seek a new term.

Several newspapers reported Friday that Amina Zakari, appointed to a committee in charge of the national collation center where the presidential election’s results will be announced, was a niece of the 76-year-old leader. The main opposition party rejected her nomination.

“President Buhari and Commissioner Amina Zakari don’t share a family relationship,” presidency spokesman Garba Shehu said Friday in an emailed statement. “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.”

The opposition People’s Democratic Party, whose candidate Atiku Abubakar will be Buhari’s main challenger in the Feb. 16 vote, disapproved of Zakari’s appointment, alleging in an emailed statement that she is a blood relation of the president.

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