The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has stepped aside, while awaiting confirmation by the Senate for a second term.
He handed over the affairs of the commission to National Commissioner, retired Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Ahmed Mu’azu pending the confirmation of his second tenure.
Yakubu, at a brief handover ceremony at INEC headquarters in Abuja on Monday said it would be inappropriate for him to remain in office beyond Nov. 9, last day of his tenure, without Senate confirmation of his second tenure.
Yakubu and five Commissioners were sworn-in on Nov. 9, 2015, followed by another six Commissioners on Dec. 7, 2016 and one more Commissioner on July 21, 2018.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Yakubu is still awaiting the confirmation of the Senate, following his nomination by President Muhammadu Buhari on Oct. 27, for a second tenure.
Yakubu said that the Commission was a constitutional body whose members were appointed for five years which might be renewed for a second and final term.
“This means that my tenure and those of the first set of five Commissioners end today.
“As you are already aware, the renewal of my tenure as Chairman of the Commission has been announced, subject to confirmation by the Senate.
“Our work as election managers requires us to enforce the law, regulations and guidelines.
“In doing so, we must demonstrate strict respect for, and compliance with, the Constitution of Nigeria and subsidiary laws.
“Consequently, it will be inappropriate for me to remain in office beyond today, Nov. 9, without confirmation by the Senate and swearing to another oath of office as provided by law.
“Pending the conclusion of the statutory process, the remaining National Commissioners have resolved that AVM Ahmed Mu’azu (rtd) will oversee the affairs of the Commission.
“It is, therefore, my pleasure to hand over to him in the interim. We have worked as a team for the last four years. Therefore, there is nothing new to anyone of them.
Yakubu appreciated the support of the commission members, the resident electoral commissioners and the secretary to the commission for good working relationship.
He also appreciated the director-general of the Electoral Institute, directors, members of the technical team, heads of the various security agencies deployed to INEC and all staff of the commission nationwide saying, “I look forward to working with you again.”
Mu’azu, who is the national commissioner in-charge of Tender Board, pledged to diligently handle the affairs of the commission pending the confirmation and resumption of Yakubu for his second tenure.
Mu’azu said that the responsibility handed over to him was not new as all the national commissioners had at one time or the other acted in the capacity of INEC chairman, whenever he was out of the country for official assignment.
“For the last four years, it has been the tradition of the chairman that whenever he is travelling outside the country a national commissioner is assigned in his temporary absence.
“In this way all the national commissioners have at one time or the other acted in the absence of the chairman. We, therefore, see the present arrangement in this light and nothing more.
“I want to assure you all that I will handle the affairs of the commission with all diligence,” Mu’azu said.
Also in his remarks, another commissioner whose tenure ended with that of the chairman, Mr Solomon Soyebi, commended Yakubu’s achievements in his first tenure.
Soyebi encouraged him to continue his good works on his resumption of office in the second tenure.
Also, a National commissioner of INEC, Mr Abubakar Nahuche, also resigned his appointment on Monday.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, confirmed this to newsmen in Abuja on Monday.
Okoye said that Nahuche, who was the Chairman, Estate, Works and Transport Committee, representing North West, resigned his appointment on personal reasons.
He added that President Muhammadu Buhari had accepted Nahuche’s resignation and thanked him for his services to the nation.
Nahuche from Zamfara was sworn-in as INEC national commissioner on Dec. 7, 2016.
He attended the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.
He then proceeded to the Rochester Institute of Technology, New York, U.S., and studied for his Master’s degree in the same discipline between 1976 and 1978.
He was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of the defunct Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) in June 2007 and served until February 2008.
Nahuche also undertook a six-month Short Service Course at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Zaria in 1979; the Jungle Warfare and Combat Survival Course at the Nigerian School of Infantry, Jaji, in 1980.
He also did the Junior Staff College Course at the Command and Staff College also in Jaji in 1981.
He worked at various times as Project Manager, Nigerian Army Fixed Communication Project and as Assistant to the Commander, Corps of Signals of the Nigerian Army from 1983 to 1984.
He was also Special Assistant to the Minister of Communication and was with the Nigerian Security Organisation (NSO) from 1984 to 1986.
Meawhile, the acting Chairman of INEC performed his first function on the job on Monday when he swore swore-in Dr Joseph Chukwuemeka as Resident Electoral Commission (REC).
Mu’azu, while carrying out his first official assignment as acting chairman of the commission, said that Chukwuemeka who is from Abia State has been deployed as REC for Ebonyi.
He said he has no doubt that Chukwuemeka would discharge his responsibilities according to the oath of office that he took.
The acting chairman charged him to be neutral and act within the laws and regulations guiding his office and work of the commission.
“You are nominated and confirmed based on your pass records, please stick to the mandate and core values of this commission.” Mu’azu said.
Responding, Chukwuemeka commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his nomination as INEC REC.
He, however, pledged to discharge his role intelligently and promote Nigeria’s democracy.