Gliding On Historic Second Berth, INEC Chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu Outlines Agenda

Gliding On Historic Second Berth, INEC Chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu Outlines Agenda

…Pleads With NASS to Make Passage of New Electoral Act a Priority …Assures of Clean Voters Register Before 2023 General Elections Leaning on a historic second berth, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu resumed as chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday for a fresh term of five years, the first person to achieve such a feat

…Pleads With NASS to Make Passage of New Electoral Act a Priority

…Assures of Clean Voters Register Before 2023 General Elections

Leaning on a historic second berth, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu resumed as chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday for a fresh term of five years, the first person to achieve such a feat in the history of Election Management Body (EMB) in Nigeria.

Yakubu who vacated his office last November ahead of his screening and confirmation by the Senate was sworn in for a fresh tenure on Wednesday by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Addressing INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners, National Commissioners and newsmen, Professor Yakubu pleaded with the National Assembly (NASS) to give urgent priority to passage of the amended Electoral Act.

He also revealed that he would ensure that Nigerians get a clean Voters Register ahead of 2023 general elections.

He said his Commission would commence the continuous Voters Register in the first quarter of next year.

Professor Yakubu maintained that a credible Voters Register was a sufficient condition for the credible electoral process in the country.

Electoral Act

“Our work continues, the quick passage of the Electoral Act amendment is a top priority and you will recall that I appealed to the Senate Committee on INEC during my screening two weeks ago to conclude work for the passage of the Electoral Act amendment by the first quarter of next year.

“I am glad that in his response, the Senate President assured the nation only yesterday at the public hearing on the Electoral Act amendment that the National Assembly is committed to that target and is not only achievable but they will ensure that it is actualized.

“The immediate area of attention for the Commission is the resumption of Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) also in the first quarter of next year and this will continue at least to six months to the 2023 general election. So, we will continue for well over one year until six months to the general election. We will also use the opportunity as required by law to clean up the register of voters. We are happy with our register of voters, it is robust but we will continue to see ways by which we can improve the quality of the register.

“I am saying so because the credibility of any democratic election draws from the credibility of the register of voters. Without a clean register of voters, you can’t have a credible election and we are committed to cleaning up the register of voters. In doing so, we hope to introduce new technology for voters enrolment in 2021 drawing from the lessons we learnt in the last exercise in 2017 and 2018.

“In due course, the Commission will give details of other activities going to the 2023 election. We have exactly 799 days to the next General Election held on 18th of February, 2023. We have identified 1508 activities that we must accomplish between now and election in 2023. Some will be carried out simultaneously,” he said

Holding Forte

Yakubu showered encomiums on Vice Marshal Ahmed Muazu (rtd) who assumed the office in an acting capacity while he was away for the successful conduct of last weekend bye-elections in 15 constituencies in 11 states of the federation, including six senatorial districts.

“During that period, the National Commissioners led by Air Vice Marshall Mu’azu were able to successfully conduct bye-elections for the 15 constituencies in 11 states of the federation, including six senatorial districts.

“Each state of the federation has three senatorial districts so when you conduct six senatorial bye-elections is like conducting governorship elections in two states of the federation and that includes Lagos East, as Air Vice Marshall Mu’azu said which has voters register population more than the combined register of voters for the Republic of Gambia and Japan put together. So I want to thank you for holding forte.”

Earlier in his remarks, Air Vice Marshall Muazu thanked Staff of the Commission, political parties and civil society organizations for their cooperation which ensured the success of last weekend bye-elections.

Speaking to State House Correspondents after his swearing-in, Professor Yakubu said preparations were already ongoing on how to ensure acceptable general elections in 2023.

According to him, the INEC had, in collaboration with the National Assembly, commenced a process of delivering an amended electoral legal framework in record time.

“We have clearly demonstrated in recent elections that elections are getting better and they will continue to get better.

“The National Assembly is holding a public hearing on the amendment of the electoral legal framework. This is important and this time around, working with the National Assembly, we’ll ensure a speedy passage of the amendment bill and once it is assented to, it will help us enormously in confronting the challenges ahead.

“The preparations for 2023 general elections have proceeded in earnest, we need certainty and therefore the electoral legal framework is fundamental, without which we cannot formulate our regulations and guidelines. Without our regulations and guidelines, we cannot conclude work on the manual for the training of ad-hoc staff for the election.

“So from here, I am going to proceed to the National Assembly, so work begins in earnest and we have already started”, he said.

Buhari reappointed Yakubu as Chairman of INEC) for another five-year term on October 27th. He is the first chair to be reappointed to head the Commission.

Yakubu’s appointment was confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday during plenary following a motion by the Chairman, Committee on INEC, Senator Kabiru Gaya, which was seconded by Senator Haliru Jika.

Debating the motion, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege while thanking President Buhari for nominating Yakubu for a second term, said this was the first time the chairman of INEC is re-nominated.

Confirming Yakubu’s Nomination

“Let me thank the Committee on INEC for bringing forth what most of us do not know. I stand to support this nomination not because of all that have been said about him but because of the way he has carried out the affairs of INEC.

“I have worked with him and I am very happy that he is ready to carry out most of the report submitted by the INEC Committee. So I support this nomination,” he said.

On his part, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe said during the debate that “usually the heads of INEC usually come into Senate and we act in Committee of the Whole in plenary.

“Certain positions like the INEC position mean that if after the term of office, there are new experiences that he has gathered that we all need to ventilate. What is important for us is to make sure that votes count and votes matter”.

Also, Senator Sam Egwu said, “I want to commend the report of the Committee on INEC and I will say that I am not disappointed. When I was a Minister, I worked with Professor Mahmood Yakubu, and so I am not surprised about all that have been said about him.

“I want to urge him to continue the good work and to ensure that our elections are free and fair, and that the votes of Nigerians will continue to count”.

Senator Sirajudeen Ajibola said, “I join other colleagues in supporting this nomination because the importance of electoral integrity is very crucial to democracy and to development. I join my colleagues to recommend that this nomination is confirmed”.

Speaking in the same vein, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha said, “Professor Mahmood Yakubu distinguished himself. Experience is key in accessing the performance of a public servant. The reports here have shown that in the last year, Professor Mahmood is well experienced and has done well.

“Let us give him the opportunity to do more and to bring in new ideas that we need especially in this time of our political system”.

Following the debate, the Senate dissolved into the Committee of the Whole to consider the report of the Committee on INEC on the Confirmation of the nomination of Yakubu.

After reverting to plenary and, the nomination of Yakubu was confirmed as chairman, INEC.


Yakubu was born in Bauchi State, Northern Nigeria. He completed his basic and secondary school education at Kobi Primary School and Government Teachers College, Toro, respectively. He proceeded to the University of Sokoto (now Usmanu Danfodiyo University), where he became the first and, to date, only Nigerian from the North to obtain a first-class degree certificate in History.

At postgraduate level, he studied International Relations at Wolfson College, Cambridge, graduating with master’s degree in 1987, and Nigerian history at the University of Oxford, graduating with a doctorate in 1991. The Bauchi State Government offered him a scholarship to study at both the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. He went on to become a three-time recipient of the Overseas Research Scholarship, and also won the Commonwealth Scholarship from the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

Yakubu is an expert in Guerrilla Warfare, and was Professor of Political History and International Studies at the Nigerian Defence Academy. Prior to his appointment as INEC chairman in 2015, he served as the executive secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), being appointed to office in 2007 by then-President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. During his tenure as secretary, a National Book Development Fund was established, supporting 102 journals of professional associations.

Yakubu also served as assistant secretary of Finance and Administration at the 2014 National Conference. In 2013, he was awarded an honorary fellowship of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).

Rejig INEC

Meanwhile the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised the reappointed INEC Chairman, Professor Yakubu, to use the more than two years ahead of the 2023 general election to rejig the Electoral Commission.

The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja on Wednesday, advised Yakubu to use the period to work out legislations and operational rules that would guarantee a free, credible and all-inclusive electoral process.

He advised him to go to Ghana and the U.S and take a study from their electoral bodies on how to conduct free, fair, transparent and credible general elections.

Borrow From Ghana & US

The PDP chieftain counsels Yakubu to learn from the Ghana Electoral Commission, which was making more room for a more all-inclusive electoral process by starting a special voting system to enable personnel of critical service providers to cast their ballots days ahead of the Dec. 7, election date.

He also advised the INEC Chairman to study how the U.S credibly conducted a keenly contested 2020 presidential election without recourse to government influence and use of security to suppress the wishes of citizens as expressed at the polling units.

Ologbondiyan advised Yakubu to engage political stakeholders for legislations, rules and field procedures, so as to curb violence, ensure the security of electoral materials and guarantee the safety of voters.

“The INEC Chairman should initiate processes and procedures that will guarantee prompt arrival of ballot materials, rapid accreditation and voting, instant transmission of results from polling units as well as seamless collation of figures. Our party demands Prof. Yakubu to improve on legislations that restrict the involvement of security agencies in voting and collation processes, check underage and alien voters, vote-buying, alteration of results and manipulation of voter register”.

He urged Yakubu to pursue an amendment to the Electoral Act to make it mandatory for INEC to publish voter register online, thus terminating the doctoring of the register and accreditation process.

“It is therefore instructive to restate that with the new appointment, Yakubu has been given an ample time and opportunity to redeem the image of the Commission and give our nation a credible election. Credible election that will be devoid of the failures, disappointments, miscarriages and litigations.

“Our party urges the reappointed INEC Chairman to note that the 2023 general election will hugely impact the fate of over 200 million Nigerians. As such, he must ensure that the nation does not go down in his hands”.




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