INEC denies claims of crisis after hand over by Yakubu
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said contrary to reports, there was no crisis in the commission over the reappointment and subsequent hand over by its National Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
Yakubu had last week, pending the Senate’s confirmation for the renewal of his tenure as chairman of the commission, handed over to Air Vice Marshal Ahmed Mu’azu (Rtd), a national commissioner of the electoral body.
However, reports that some powerful interests were bent on hijacking the leadership of election management body after Yakubu stepped aside sufficed earlier this week.
INEC National Commissioner and chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, told The Guardian on Tuesday that the purported crisis in the commission was false, adding that INEC is in safe hands pending Yakubu’s return.
Okoye noted that all constitutional and statutory requirements were met by President Muhammadu Buhari in regards to the appointment of the chairman, adding that Nigerians and the international community have expressed satisfaction with his reappointment.
“The appointment of national and resident electoral commissioners 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.
According to him, there was no power tussle among the National commissioners, rather all hands were on deck to ensure the successful conduct of forthcoming bye-elections slated for December 5.
On why Yakubu handed over to an acting chairman pending Senate confirmation of his reappointment , Okoye explained that he (Yakubu) is a “firm believer in constitutionalism and owes absolute fidelity to the rule of law and due process.”
While expressing confidence that the reappointment of Yakubu would be given speedy passage by the Senate, Okoye said the relationship between INEC and the National Assembly was cordial.
He added that the exclusive responsibility of the commission to fix dates of election and the commission does not share this responsibility with any individual, party or organisation
“I also read that there was disagreement between the national commissioners at last week meeting with the resident electoral commissioners. That is very untrue. There is no disagreement between the national commissioners and the resident electoral commissioners relating to the date and timing of bye-elections. The Chairman had told the national commissioners not to allow the activities of the commission to be affected on account of his absence and the retirement of other national commissioners.
” The Chairman has indeed instilled courage, dynamism, and professionalism in the running of the commission.
“Therefore, we are focused on delivering on the by-elections and will not be distracted by unfounded insinuations and imaginary disagreements on account of the performance of its constitutional and statutory duties”, he stated
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