Senate yesterday confirmed the appointment of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu as the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), with five others as the commissioners of the Commission.
The UNION reports that the five others include: Hajiya Amina Bala Zakari, who was the Acting INEC Chairperson, as Representative of the North-West; Dr. (Mrs.) Antonia Taiye Okoosi from Kogi State for North- Central, Alhaji Baba Shettima Arfo from Borno State for North-East, Dr. Mohammed Mustapha from Edo State for South-South and Mr. Soyebi Ad- edeji Solomon from Ogun State for South-West.
The commissioners are to specifically function as the nation’s electoral umpires in the geopolitical zones.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had written to the Senate, through the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, requesting the Upper Legislative Chamber to confirm the nominees.
Buhari’s letter was read on the floor of the Senate by Saraki during Plenary on Thursday, October 22, 2015.
bidding questions earlier from the senators, Yakubu, who stated the need for electronic voting, however, advised Nigerians not to be in a hurry to introduce it into the electoral process.
“It is desirable and inevitable that one day we have to go into electronic voting. But we have to be very careful, as reflected in other countries. We need to think through it before we adopt it. We cannot rush into it,” he advised.
Yakubu emphasised the importance of the card reader and expressed optimism that it would serve Nigerians better in 2019.
Speaking on the reforms in the electoral system, Yakubu appreciated the efforts of the immediate past Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, on his immense contributions to the Commission.
“I have not come to experiment, but to consolidate. I cannot be intimidated; I have accepted myself as a true Nigeria,” he stated.
He also promised that he will focus on the statutory roles of the INEC to ensure that 12.3 million PVCs that were not collected prior to the 2015 general elections will be collected ahead of the 2019 polls.
Yakubu promised that never again would elections be conducted and won at the INEC headquarters.
He charged politicians to win the support of the people and not that of the Commission to enable them win elections.
The commissioners also spoke on their expected role when confirmed, In his response to questions, Solomon, who emphasised the importance of electronic voting, stated that technology has come to stay.
“It is gradually taking over the world such that we cannot do without it. I suggest we conduct electronic elections,” he added.
Speaking on flawless elections, he stated that there is no perfect election anywhere in the world.
“The only way we can achieve this is to adopt the principal of transparency; then, elections will become more credible and less flawless,” he said.
Addressing the issue of card readers Mustapha added that the role of technology is indispensable because it enhances efficiency.
“We can extend the benefit to other areas of our life,” he added.
The UNION reports that Yakubu, a former Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TetlTindi, was earlier appointed by Buhari, and his appointment had been ratified by the National Council of State.
– Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja