INEC chief wants Senate to accelerate Electoral Act amendment

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu

The nominee for the position of Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, has called on the National Assembly to quickly pass the Electoral Law Amendment Bill before the end of the first quarter of 2021.

Yakubu made the call in Abuja on Thursday when he appeared before the INEC Senate Committee for its screening.

President Muhammadu Buhari had requested on Wednesday the Yakubu Senate’s confirmation as INEC president for a second term.

Yakubu said that the passage of the Election Law was critical to the success of the 2023 general elections and, ultimately, the nation’s electoral system.

He said that the INEC under his leadership had recommended some areas for amendments in the Electoral Law.

He said that if confirmed, the INEC under his supervision would be further consolidated to ensure greater transparency in the conduct of future elections in the country.

“It’s more than we’ve done in the past because I think we didn’t have to constantly keep experimenting,” he said.

“So we have to consolidate ourselves, democracy operates in the open air.

“We have to remain open and transparent in the way we continue to manage public trust.

“I hope that in the coming years we will consolidate in such a way that Nigerians are confident that their votes will count and only their votes will determine who ultimately wins an election.

“This is my hope and my commitment.”

He also said that the commission will continue to deepen the deployment of technology in subsequent elections.

“Voter registration is biometric, we are now uploading the results online to a dedicated portal and will continue to explore other ways in which the electoral process can benefit from the deployment of technology,” he said.

Yakubu attributed the high level of voter apathy in the country to poor performance and the failed promises of some politicians to the electorate after winning the elections.

He also attributed the inability of the political parties to effectively mobilize the electorate for the elections as well as party leader.

He said that INEC had a responsibility to educate voters.

Abdullahi Zuru, candidate for National Commissioner representing the Northwest, in his comment said that he would bring his experience as a scientist to the continued deployment of technology in the electoral process if it is approved.

The chairman of the committee, Kabiru Gaya, while answering questions from journalists at the end of the screening, spoke about the amendment to the Electoral Law.

“Let me assure Nigerians that we will begin a public hearing on the Election Law amendment on December 9th.

“The public hearing will be a joint public hearing between the Senate and the House of Representatives so that we can expedite the amendment to the Election Law.

“Because many Nigerians need the amendment.

“This is because there were so many complaints of irregularities during the last elections and we want the Electoral Law to be modified to give us more transparent elections.”

On the controversial allegation that a person appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari was among the nominees for the post of Resident Election Commissioners (REC), he said: “It is expected that around four Election Commissioners will be sent to the Senate for confirmation.

“When they send us the list, we’ll see what to do,” he said.

Speaking more about the projection of the REC, he said that letters in that regard had not been sent to his committee for analysis.

“So, we don’t know those names at the level of our committee; If you heard that on the news, it has not reached us as a committee.

“When it comes to us as a committee, we will act.”

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