Yakubu, Sets Example For Buhari Political Appointees As He Steps Down As INEC CHAIRMAN

By Suleiman Umaru

 Barely  two months after conducting the governorship elections of Edo, south-south,,  and Ondo, south west geo-political zones states , which had  produced Godwin Obaseki and Femi  Oluwarotimi as governors of their respective states in an  election that was  adjudged  within and outside the country, as Free and Fair, Mahmood Yakubu, a professor and Chairman , of  the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC,  says he is  done with the Commission for now as he steps down.

His decision to step down frm the ealted office was  said to have been informed by the fact that he was reappointed by President Muhammadu Buhari, of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC,  to still oversee the Commission for another  five years  without the Confirmation of the Ahmad Lawan led Senate . The Senate Confirmation could have given  him  another opportunity  of swearing  the  oath office to justify his Constitutional mandate.

  He was not  ready  to toe the line of Ibrahim Magu, a Commissioner of Police and acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial rimes Commission, EFCC, and some other political appointees who had remained in office since 2015, despite  not been confirmed  by  the 8th  Senate  led by Bukola Saraki,  and who incidentally  was a former governor of Kwara state and the current Senate .

As a Professor of Political Science  who knows his onions and when to quit when the ovation is loudest, he  had handed stepped down and handed  over  the  leadership of of the Commission, to Ahmed Adamu Muazu, a retired Air Vice Marshall and a National Commissioner of the Commission, in-charge of Electoral  Logistics  but an acting Capacity, ‘’ pending when the Senate would Confirm his reappointment as forwarded to Lawan, the Senate Pesident  by the Katsina state born Nigerian  President on October 27, 2020 .

While handing over the mantle of Leadership  of the Commission to Muazu, a National Commissioner,  on Monday, November 9, 2020,  Yakubu had told those that cares to listen that ‘’ it will be inappropriate  for him  to remain office  beyond Monday , without Confirmation by the Lawan led Senate ,and swearing in   to another  oath of office  as provided by the 1999 Constitution , as amended. 

The INEC Chairman, who could not hide his feelings had said that as election managers,  who  enforces the Law,  they must be  seen as showing good example for others to follow by obeying the Law. ‘’We must  demostrate  strict  respect  for, and Compliance  with the Constitution  of the Federal Republic of Nigeria  and its subsidiary Laws’’, he had said.

AVM Muazu: Elected By INEC National Commissioners As Acting Chairman

He was said to have been  encouraged to hand over to the retired Air Force Air Vice Marshall because  he was selected  by the other National Commissioners  at the Conclusion of their meeting  which was said to have been  held  behind closed door.  Because his tenure had not expired.

Many had  expected the five National Commissioners of the Electoral Umpire  whose tenure had expired on Monday, 9, November, 2020,  to take a cue from Yakubu, the INEC, boss, to step down   as a mark of respect for the country’s Constitution.  By stepping down  without being  forced out by the President  shows that  political appointees  who  are still hanging out in their office with  the Senate  Confirmation are Lawbreakers, which in turn  also means that that the Nigerian President  had no respect for the country’s Constitution  for keeping such appointees with the Senate approval.

 Insider information told  Value News that The INEC  helmsman  may return back  to the  Commission if confirmed by the Senate  alongside the five National  Commissioners whose  first five –year  tenure which  had started   on November 9, 2015, had had expired. Note that Yakubu, had replaced Attahiru Jeja, a Professor, a former Chairman of the Commission, appointed  by the then President Goodluck Jonathan.

Recall  that the Nigerian President had appointed  the INEC Chairman ,and five National Commissioners on November 9, 2015  while the next batch of the Commission National Commissioners were appointed between 2017 and   July  21, 2018,  were appointed for a five- year period , which may be renewed  for  another five  years  and final term at the discretion of the President and Commander –In-Chief of the Nigerian  Armed Forces.

Political  Observers fear that  the withdrawal of Yakubu, the INEC boss from the activities of the Commission  by stepping down when his services are needed most  in the country  now is  a  major set -back to Elctoral Umpire.  The former SUBSTATIVE  INEC, Chairman, may have left  in office lots of unfinished job  for Muazu,  and his Management Team. 

Muazu and  the National Commissioners  were said to have held the first  meeting with the Chairmen of the  all the registered  Political Parties   over the 15 bye-elections  postponed across the country by the then Chairman of the Commission on Tuesday, November 10, 2020.   At the Monday meeting, after the brief had over Ceremony at the Commission Headquarters in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, the acting INEC, Chairman had given an insight into the planned meeting with the Political Party Chairmen the next day.

He had said that he meeting  would afford the Political Party Chairmen, an opportunity ‘’to review  the conduct of  the past Edo and Ondo  states governorship elections and make recommendations on how  to improve  on the quality of elections in the country’’.

Recall that  the  Commission  had  scheduled  the Conduct  of the bye-elections  for October 31, 2020,  which was said to have been postponed owing to the  challenges  in the country arising from the two weeks END SARS  protest.  The conduct of the 15 bye-elections across the country is a litmus test for the Muazu led INEC.

Political analysts who had followed the activities  of the  Commission over the last four years in the  conduct of  country’s past general elections believe that the INEC  acting Chairman and his  Team , may not have much  difficulty in  conducting the bye-elections because they had been working as a Team. That much was confirmed by Yakubu, while stepping down last Monday.

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