By Omeiza Ajayi – Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has denounced sponsored attacks regarding the reappointment of its chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, saying the decision was clearly in conformity with the country’s constitution and other extant laws.
INEC described as tissues of lies, reports that there was tension within it following Yakubu’s temporary exit last week. According to him, reports of in-fighting in the Commission were sponsored by elements who are bent on causing disaffection in the system.
National Commissioner and Chairman of INEC’s Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye who stated this in a chat with Vanguard also defended the powers of the president under the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to make such appointments into INEC.
Section 154(1)(2) of the Constitution provides that the President, in exercising his power to appoint the chairman or member of INEC, “shall consult the Council of State”, and such appointment again, “shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate.”
According to Okoye, the appointment of National and Resident Electoral Commissioners RECs, as well as the Chairman of the Commission, is the exclusive responsibility of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Such an appointment is subject to confirmation by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, he said.
Yakubu had last week handed over to a national Commissioner, AVM Ahmed Muazu (retd), saying as a respecter of the rule of law, he needed to stay away and await clearance from the Senate and consequent swearing-in by President Muhammadu Buhari despite his reappointment for a second term of office.
He said both local and international stakeholders had since endorsed Yakubu’s reappointment in recognition of the various innovations he has introduced into election administration and conduct.
Okoye said; “The Nigerian people have endorsed the reappointment of Prof. Yakubu as the chairman. The international community has expressed satisfaction with his reappointment and stated that the commission is in safe hands. The expectation is a speedy confirmation of his appointment.
“The Senate is made up of representatives of the people of Nigeria and will give vent to the wishes of the people of Nigeria. We are confident that all constitutional and statutory requirements have been met and will be met in the appointment and confirmation of the chairman”.