Prof Mahmood Yakubu named INEC chairman
...Amina Zakari, 4 others commissioners
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