The confirmation of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu as chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) could face new problems.
According to ThisDay, the opposition group of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the Senate is set to block Yakubu’s confirmation for a new five-year term. This occurs just as the National Assembly resumes plenary today after a five-week recess during which the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) defended their budget estimates for 2021 before the committees of the federal parliament.
Sources told THISDAY yesterday that the PPD senators met over the weekend and made far-reaching decisions, including opposing Yakubu’s nomination. Earlier this month, Buhari had referred Yakubu’s name to the Senate for confirmation, and Senate President Dr. Ahmad Lawan is expected to read the letter today at the resumption of the Senate plenary session.
A senator told THISDAY that the PPD caucus resolved to pressure their colleagues to ensure that the Senate does not ratify Yakubu’s nomination. The legislator who spoke on condition of anonymity told THISDAY that the minority group based its rejection of Yakubu’s candidacy on his reported inconsistencies in his first term. He mentioned, in particular, the 2019 general elections, allegedly marred by irregularities that led INEC to say that they did not have a server just to use the server during the Edo / Ondo governor polls this year.
He said: “You could see that under Yakubu’s supervision as president of INEC, there were obvious inconsistencies. At one point the commission will say one thing, at another it will deny it. An example was during the 2019 general survey in the country when the INEC said that the server would not be used for the elections only for this year to change and use the same server for the governor elections of Edo and Ondo. So, for us in the PDP we cannot entrust Yakubu with future elections in the country because we believe that he cannot guarantee free and fair elections and on this basis we will oppose his new nomination by the president ”.
THISDAY also collected that the minority caucus also resolved to resist a bill that is currently in the National Assembly to muzzle social networks, whenever it is presented for discussion in plenary. Other decisions made by the PDP senators prior to the resumption of the Senate plenary today include providing necessary legislative support for the 2010 Election Law Amendment Bill and the Petroleum Industry (GDP) Bill, as well as the constitutional reform.
“We will support the timely approval of the GDP and the Electoral Amendment Bill because they are for the betterment of citizens and society.” The PDP group also supports the revision of the 1999 Constitution and will support our colleagues at APC and YPP to ensure that the revised constitution is ready by June 2021 ”. added the source. On October 20, the Senate suspended its plenary session and it was suspended until today to allow its committees to consider the federal government’s budget estimates for 2021.
Lawan had said that the break would allow ministers and heads of parastatal entities to appear before Senate committees to defend appropriations for the various MDAs in the Appropriations Bill of 2021.