President Muhammadu Buhari has reappointed chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, for a second term in office.
Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, who disclosed this in a statement, noted that Yakubu’s reappointment was contained in a letter to president of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan. In the letter, President Buhari said the reappointment was 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 (INEC) for a second and final term,” Buhari stated.
Yakubu who was first appointed by President Buhari in October 2015 took over from Amina Bala-Zakari, then acting chairperson after the tenure of Prof Attahiru Jega who oversaw the 2011 and 2015 general elections. Yakubu’s reappointment marks the first time in the history of the country that incumbent chairman of the electoral body will be reappointed. Born in Bauchi State, Yakubu 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 only Nigerian from the North to obtain a first class degree certificate in history. He studied international relations at Wolfson College, Cambridge, at postgraduate level, graduating with a masters degree in 1987. He later studied Nigerian history at the University of Oxford, graduating with a doctorate degree in 1991. He conducted the 2019 general election, Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa elections. He also conducted the Edo and Ondo governorship elections which held amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The United States, a pro-democracy think-tank, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Yiaga. Africa among other civil society organisations lauded INEC over the conduct of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections. Meanwhile, the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has congratulated Yakubu on his reappointment as INEC chairman.
In statement released on confirmation of the History Professors’ reappointment, the national chairman of the umbrella body of registered political parties in Nigeria, Dr Leonard Nzenwa, noted that Yakubu’s reappointment was a welcome development and a blessing to the polity. Nzenwa restated that only few helmsmen at the commission had been able to achieve respectable results like the incumbent INEC chairman did during his first tenure.
The IPAC chairman praised the INEC chairman’s remarkable digitalisation programme which has transformed the way elections have been conducted in the country in the last four years. He added that the success of the Edo and Ondo 2020 gubernatorial polls are clear examples of the positive technology and digitisation trajectory which Yakubu’s first tenure gave to Nigeria. IPAC chairman further urged the INEC chair to continue with the strident effort to reform the electoral process, even as it requests the chairman to put his foot down to ensure that Nigerians’ votes counts in all elections in the country going forward.
Also, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) said the reappointment of the INEC chairman gives him an opportunity to set the country’s electoral processes on the right path. CUPP spokesman, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, stated this in a statement congratulating Yakubu on his reappointment.
The CUPP spokesman who described Yakubu’s reappointment as novelty in Nigeria’s political history, urged him to use this second term to cleanse the electoral process and consolidate on the gains of Edo and Ondo elections. He said, “The shifted elections earlier scheduled for 31st October, 2020 would be the first test of what this second term would be for.
Nigerians will expect nothing less than a very credible, free and fair 2023 general election from him. “The CUPP on this note calls on the Nigerian Senate and Opposition lawmakers join to confirm the appointment so as to allow him have the needed neutrality to oversee the upcoming bye elections and adequate time to start the cleansing process for our Nations electoral process”.