Prof Mah­mood Yakubu named INEC chair­man

...Amina Zakari, 4 oth­ers com­mis­sion­ers

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Isi­aka Wak­ili & Musa Ab­dul­lahi Kr­ishi

Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari has ap­pointed former Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary of the Ter­tiary Ed­u­ca­tion Trust Fund Pro­fes­sor Mah­mood Yakubu as chair­man of the In­de­pen­dent Na­tional Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (INEC).

Yakubu’s ap­point­ment was rat­i­fied yes­ter­day at the Coun­cil of State meet­ing, which also rat­i­fied the ap­point­ments of five new com­mis­sion­ers for the elec­toral body.

The five com­mis­sion­ers in­clude Mrs Amina Bala Zakari (Ji­gawa) who had been act­ing as INEC chair­man since June 30. She now rep­re­sents the North-west. Oth­ers are Dr An­tonla

Taiye Okoosi (Kogi), North­cen­tral; Al­haji Baba Shet­tima Arfo (Borno), North-east; Dr Mo­hammed Mustafa (Edo), South-south and Mr Soyebi Ad­edeji Solomon (Ogun), South-west.

The ten­ure of Am­bas­sador Lawrence Nwu­ruku, who rep­re­sents the South-east, has not ex­pired, pres­i­den­tial spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, said yes­ter­day.

Yes­ter­day’s Coun­cil of State meet­ing is the first presided over by Pres­i­dent Buhari since he as­sumed of­fice on May 29. The meet­ing was held in­side the Coun­cil Cham­ber of the Aso Rock Pres­i­den­tial Villa, Abuja.

Daily Trust re­ports that Yakubu hails from Bauchi State in the north-east geopo­lit­i­cal zone of the coun­try. Born in 1962, he grad­u­ated with a first class hon­ours in His­tory from the Us­manu Dan­fodiyo Univer­sity Sokoto. He also at­tended Ox­ford and Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ties in the US.

Yakubu, who taught ‘War and So­ci­ety in Pre Colo­nial Africa’ at the Nige­rian Defence Academy (NDA), is a pro­fes­sor of Po­lit­i­cal His­tory and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies.

In 2014, he served as the As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary, Fi­nance and Ad­min­is­tra­tion, of the Na­tional Con­fer­ence or­ga­nized by the then pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan.

Ap­point­ments to be stag­gered

Brief­ing State House cor­re­spon­dents af­ter the one­hour Coun­cil of State meet­ing, Sokoto State Gover­nor Aminu Waziri Tam­buwal said the nom­i­na­tions had been ap­proved and would later be trans­mit­ted to the Na­tional As­sem­bly for con­fir­ma­tion.

He said: “At the first Coun­cil of State meet­ing in the life of this ad­min­is­tra­tion, the coun­cil re­ceived a memo on the nom­i­na­tion of chair­man and five com­mis­sion­ers for INEC. This is in con­form­ity with the pro­vi­sions of the Con­sti­tu­tion of Nige­ria, par­tic­u­larly Sec­tions 154 (1 and 3) and 156 (3) that con­fer on the pres­i­dent, the pow­ers to ap­point a chair­man and na­tional com­mis­sion­ers of INEC in con­sul­ta­tion with the Coun­cil of State.

“The sit­u­a­tion in INEC as at to­day is such that re­quires for this emer­gency meet­ing to ap­prove the nom­i­na­tions by Mr. Pres­i­dent be­cause the law re­quires that a min­i­mum of four com­mis­sion­ers should form a quo­rum in INEC, which is not the case as at to­day, be­cause the tenures of 11 of na­tional com­mis­sion­ers of INEC had ex­pired.

“In line with this, the coun­cil con­sid­ered and con­firmed the ap­point­ments of Pro­fes­sor Mah­mood Yakubu as Chair­man of INEC; Mrs. Amina Bala Zakari as mem­ber rep­re­sent­ing North-West, Dr An­to­nia Taiye OkoosiSim­bile as com­mis­sioner, North-Cen­tral; Al­haji Baba Shet­tima Arfo from Borno as com­mis­sioner rep­re­sent­ing North-East; Dr Mo­hammed Mustapha Lekki from Edo as com­mis­sioner rep­re­sent­ing South-South and Prince Soyebi Ad­edeji Solomon from Ogun rep­re­sent­ing South­West.

“The coun­cil has agreed to stag­ger the con­fir­ma­tion of th­ese ap­point­ments of com­mis­sion­ers of INEC in view of the sit­u­a­tion we find our­selves presently whereby the tenures of in­di­vid­ual com­mis­sion­ers ex­pire al­most over the same time. So, to avert fu­ture oc­cur­rence of such a sit­u­a­tion, the coun­cil has agreed that the next six of the com­mis­sion­ers should be sub­mit­ted to the coun­cil sub­se­quently for its ap­proval. Th­ese names have been ap­proved and would be trans­mit­ted to the Na­tional As­sem­bly for con­fir­ma­tion”. On Kogi, Bayelsa polls Field­ing ques­tions from jour­nal­ists, Tam­buwal said the new INEC chair­man and mem­bers of the com­mis­sion would con­duct the forth­com­ing gu­ber­na­to­rial elec­tions of Kogi and Bayelsa States.

On whether Kogi and Bayelsa polls came up for dis­cus­sion at the Coun­cil of State meet­ing, he said: “It is not a mat­ter for the coun­cil to go into. It is a mat­ter that is strictly un­der the purview of the com­mis­sion it­self. So, it didn’t come up at the coun­cil meet­ing”.

Asked who is go­ing to con­duct the Kogi and Bayelsa gov­er­nor­ship polls, he stated: “Ob­vi­ously, the new chair­man and mem­bers of the com­mis­sion. I have said ear­lier on that we need a quo­rum for the com­mis­sion to func­tion and that is why Mr. Pres­i­dent, in his wis­dom, sum­moned this emer­gency meet­ing for us to ap­prove th­ese names. So, I am sure it is the new chair­man that will now su­per­vise and con­duct the elec­tions in Kogi and Bayelsa”.

Saraki, Obasanjo, Jonathan ab­sent

Our cor­re­spon­dent re­ports that Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Bukola Saraki, former Pres­i­dents Oluse­gun Obasanjo, Good­luck Jonathan and Shehu Sha­gari were not at the meet­ing. While Saraki was at the Code of Con­duct Tri­bunal where he was stand­ing trial over his as­set dec­la­ra­tion, Jonathan is in Dar es Salaam, Tan­za­nia as the chair­man of the Com­mon­wealth elec­tion ob­server mis­sion to the coun­try’s elec­tion hold­ing on Sun­day.

The Coun­cil of State, chaired by the pres­i­dent, also has as mem­bers, the vice pres­i­dent, all liv­ing former Pres­i­dents and Heads of State, Sen­ate Pres­i­dent, House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Speaker, all liv­ing former Chief Jus­tices of Nige­ria and all state gov­er­nors.

Former lead­ers who at­tended yes­ter­day’s meet­ing were Gen­er­als Yakubu Gowon, Ibrahim Badamasi Ba­bangida and Ab­dul­salami Abubakar, former head of the In­terim Na­tional Gov­ern­ment Chief Ernest Shonekan as well as former Chief Jus­tices of Nige­ria Mo­hammed Lawal Uwais and Idris Kutigi.

Also in at­ten­dance were Vice Pres­i­dent Yemi Os­in­bajo, Speaker of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Yakubu Dog­ara as well as state gov­er­nors and deputy gov­er­nors.

Front row from left: Former mil­i­tary pres­i­dent Gen. Ibrahim Ba­bangida; Vice Pres­i­dent Yemi Os­in­bajo; Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari; former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon; former Head of State Gen. Ab­dul­salami Abubakar and some state gov­er­nors and deputy gov­er­nors dur­ing the Na­tional Coun­cil of State meet­ing in Abuja yes­ter­day.

From left: Gov­er­nors Aminu Tam­buwal of Sokoto, Kashim Shet­tima of Borno, Ak­in­wunmi Am­bode of Lagos, Jib­rilla Bin­dow of Adamawa and Ibrahim Gei­dam of Yobe, dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion of N50mil­lion re­lief funds to each of the states by Gover­nor Am­bode, in Abuja yes­ter­day. See story on page 8 >>>

New INEC chair­man Prof. Mah­mood Yakubu

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