By Henry Umoru & Omeiza Ajayi
THE Senate, yesterday confirmed the nomination of Professor Mahmood Yakubu as the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC for another five-year tenure.
Professor Yakubu’s confirmation was sequel to the presentation and consideration of the report of the Committee on INEC by the Chairman, Senator Kabiru Gaya, All Progressives Congress, APC, Kano South.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on November 25 written the Senate to confirm Yakubu for reappointment.
The letter was read penultimate Tuesday on the floor of the Upper Chamber by the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan. The letter was thereafter referred to the Senator Gaya’s committee for scrutiny. The committee was asked to report back, yesterday.
Presenting the report yesterday, Senator Gaya, who noted that the committee while screening the nominee found him capable, said: “The committee found out that there was no petition against him, the nominee displayed high level of intelligence and he is a man of integrity.”
According to him, the confirmation of Yakubu’s nomination reappointment was sequel to Section 153(1F) of the Constitution.
In his contribution, Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Omo Ovie-Agege, APC, Delta Central, said “this is the first time we are having an INEC chairman renominat-ed for a second term.’’
Senator James Manager, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Delta South who described the nominee as a man who had displayed rare courage and impartiality in the conduct of elections during his first term, said: “I urge the nominee that he should be more cautious of the INEC staff. This is because the name he will make when renomina-ted is more important than his achievements in the past. He should do the job to leave a legacy that is more than what he had achieved.”
Also, Senator Sandy Onor, PDP, Cross Central, Senator Gabriel Suswam, PDP Benue North-East; and Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, PDP, Delta North spoke glowingly of Yakubu
Specifically, Nwaoboshi said: “Mr. President, two days ago, I read in the papers that PDP senators were opposed to the nomination of the nominee, and that today was going to be hot. But I’m very happy that majority of the people who have spoken on the floor today are PDP senators supporting this nomination.
“That is to show that the belief or what people thought was going to happen, did not happen. We have disappointed those who thought we are going to oppose this nomination. Many of us have tried to see if we can link him to any political party, or any political association, and we have not found anything. That shows that he is an unbiased umpire that is good and qualified.”
The Upper Chamber also confirmed the nomination of Sanusi Garba as Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission. NERC.
Also confirmed was Dr. Musiliu Olalekan Oseni and Aisha Mahmud as Vice Chairman and Commissioner of NERC.
Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday received a request from President Muhammadu Buhari for the confirmation of appointment of commissioners for the INEC dated November 27, 2020.
The nominees are Professor Sani Muhammad Adam, Commissioner (North Central); and Dr. Baba Bila, Commissioner (North East).
According to the President, the request was made pursuant to Paragraph 14 of Part I(F) of the Third Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
APC tasks Yakubu on fairness
Meanwhile, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC has set an agenda for the reappointed Yakubu, urging him to be unbiased and apolitical.
APC in a statement by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yekini Nabena, yesterday, in Abuja, noted that though Nigeria’s election processes are far from perfect, there are however marked improvements recorded in series of recent elections conducted.
“The task before Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and the election management body he leads is to strive further in being unbiased and apolitical”, APC stated.
The party noted that technological innovations recently introduced and deployed by INEC have greatly improved the credibility and efficiency of the election processes, saying that “we must continue to support and invest in these innovations”.
“The Party also urges INEC to continually embark on regular voter education and sensitisation to improve voter turnout and check illegalities such as vote-buying and other emerging frauds in our electioneering processes.
“In all elections, valid votes must count and the majority will of the electorate must prevail. This is a creed INEC and indeed all partisans must subscribe to in the interest of our democracy”, APC added.