Reappointed Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu following the expiration of his 5-year tenure, has handed over affairs of the commission to a National Commissioner, Air Vice Marshal Ahmed Muazu (retd).
President Muhammadu Buhari had reappointed Prof. Yakubu for a second term of five years but his reappointment is subject to confirmation by the Senate and so AVM Muazu would only hold sway in the interim.
Yakubu and five National Commissioners were sworn in on 9th November 2015 followed by another six National Commissioners on 7th December 2016 and one more National Commissioner on 21st July 2018.
At the handing over the session, Yakubu said the subsisting National Commissioners had resolved that Muazu should take charge of the affairs of the commission.
He said; “As you are already aware, the renewal of my tenure as Chairman of the Commission has been announced, subject to confirmation by the Senate.
“Our work as election managers require us to enforce the law, regulations, and guidelines. In doing so, we must demonstrate strict respect for, and compliance with, the Constitution of Nigeria and subsidiary laws.
“Consequently, it will be inappropriate for me to remain in office beyond today, 9th November 2020, without confirmation by the Senate and swearing to another oath of office as provided by law.
“Pending the conclusion of the statutory process, the remaining National Commissioners have resolved that AVM Ahmed Mu’azu (rtd) will oversee the affairs of the Commission. It is therefore my pleasure to hand over to him in the interim. We have worked as a team for the last four years. Therefore, there is nothing new to anyone of them”.
The chairman and national commissioners are appointed for five years which may be renewed for a second and final term. Among the National Commissioners whose tenures ended on Monday were Mrs Amina Bala Zakari (Jigawa) who had once acted as INEC chairman for some months in 2015; Prof. Antonia Taiye Okoosi-Simbine (Kogi); Alhaji Baba Shettima Arfo (Borno); Dr. Mohammed Mustafa Lecky (Edo), and Prince Adedeji Solomon Soyebi (Ogun). Except for Amina Zakari and Prince Soyebi, the outgone three national commissioners are qualified for reappointment just as Yakubu.
The seven national commissioners whose tenures still subsists are; Air Vice Marshal Ahmed Muazu, Malam Mohammed Kudu Haruna, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, Engr. Abubakar Nahuche, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, and Barrister Festus Okoye.
Muazu performed his first task by coordinating the swearing-in of a new Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Chukwuemeka Joseph Chukwu from Abia state.
At the event, he said; “I want to remind you of the essence of the oath in your hand and I have no doubt that you will discharge your duties accordingly. “You must remember that as a REC, you will be the chief accounting officer for the state you are deployed to”. Muazu consequently deployed the new REC to Ebonyi state.