President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday named Professor Mahmood Yakubu from Bauchi State as the new Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The appointment which followed an emergency meeting of the National Council of State (NCS) which held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday, put to rest speculations that non- appointment of a substantive INEC Chairman may stall elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States.
The NCS meeting which was the first to be presided over by President Buhari was attended by General Yaku- bu Gowon, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Chief Ernest Shonekan and General Abdusalami Abubakar.
Former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Shehu Shagari were however absent from the meeting.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan who is currently head of Commonwealth election monitoring group to Tanzania, was also absent President Buhari also named new federal electoral commissioners to fill the vacancy created by the expiration of the tenure of some federal commissioners some months ago.
Those appointed included Mrs. Amina Bala Zakari, who has been acting as the National Chairman of INEC since since the advent of this administration.
She is from Jigawa State representing North West zone.
Others are Dr. Anthonia Taiye Okoosi-Sinbime for North Central, Dr. Mohammed Mustapha Lekki from Edo State representing South South, Prince Soyebi Solomon from Ogun State appointed to represent North Central, Alhaji Baba Shettima Arfo, from Borno representing North East while Ambassador Lawrence Nwu- ruku remains in his position as the federal commissioner representing South East geo-political zone.
Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal while briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, disclosed that the council received a memo on the nomination of chairman and five Commissioners for INEC.
He explained that this was in conformity with the provisions of the constitution of Nigeria particularly Sections 154, 1 and 3 and 156 (3) that confer on the President the powers to appoint a chairman and national commissioners of INEC, in consultation with the Council of States.
“As the first Council meeting in thee life of this administration, the Council received a memo on thee nomination of Chairman and five Commissioners for INEC, this is in conformity with the with the provisions of the constitution of Nigeria particularly Sections 154
(1 and 3 and 156 (3) that confers on the President the powers to appoint a chairman and national commissioners of INEC, in consultation with the Council of States.”
He added: “The situation in INEC as at today is such that requires for this emergency meeting to approve the nominations by Mr. President, because the law requires that a minimum of four commissioners should form a quorum in INEC, which is not the case as today, because the tenures if 11 of national commissioners of INEC had expired.
– Tony Ailemen, Abuja