As Senators hail his Performance
By Henry Umoru
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 Mahmood Yakubu’s Confirmation by the Upper Chamber 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 25th November transmitted to the Senate for confirmation, the nomination of Professor Yakubu for a second term in office.
The letter from President Buhari was read on Tuesday last week on the floor of the Upper Chamber by the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan.
Recall that Professor Yakubu’s name was submitted to the Senate for reappointment having completed his first five-year tenure.
President Buhari’s request for the screening of Professor Yakubu as INEC Chairman for the second term was contained in a letter dated 21st October 2020, and read on the floor by Lawan.
The letter read: “In accordance with the provision of Section 154(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), I am pleased to present for confirmation by the Senate, the nomination of Professor Mahmood Yakubu for appointment as Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission for a second and final term.
“While hoping that the Senate will consider and confirm the reappointment of the nominee, please accept Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.
Presenting the report yesterday at the hallowed chamber, 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 a high level of intelligence and he is a man of integrity.”
According to him, the confirmation of the nomination of the reappointment of Mahmood Yakubu 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 of INEC renominated for a second term.
” President Muhammadu Buhari should be commended because he saw what the majority of Nigerians saw in the way and manner Prof. Yakubu conducted the affairs of INEC in the last five years.”
Omo- Agege noted that the committee recommending Yakubu for a second term showed that it recognized the limitations placed on INEC by the enabling law, the Electoral Act, adding, “By this, they have come up with creative ideas on how we can sanitise the system by recommending the nominee.”
In his contribution 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 renominated 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.”
On his part, Senator Sandy Onor, PDP, Cross Central who said that Yakubu was an unbiased umpire, said that he was a square peg in a square hole, adding, “The nominee has demonstrated competence, has shown indeed that he was an unbiased umpire. Today politicians don’t go into elections scared of whether they will be oppressed or not.
“Going by his performance on the first term, that he will do even better this second term. I’m looking forward to a situation where we will digitalise our processes even more.”
Another PDP Senator Gabriel Suswam representing Benue North East who described the nominee as a person of sound character and integrity, said, “As other colleagues have said, the nominee has shown competence; he has shown integrity and unbiased nature, because, in the past, most INEC Chairmen have had to go through criticisms, especially from opposing parties.
“There is no person in the opposing party (PDP), who will oppose the nomination and confirmation of this man today because he has shown credibility in the process.”
On his part, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, PDP, Delta North 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 the 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 to the contrary. That shows that he is an unbiased umpire that is good and qualified,” he added.
The Upper Chamber also confirmed the nomination of Sanusi Garba as Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
Also confirmed were 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 the appointment of Commissioners for the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The request was contained in a letter dated 27th November 2020 and read during plenary by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
The nominees billed for confirmation is 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).