Appointments will legalize Kogi, Bayelsa elections – Falana
The appointment of Professor Mahmood Yakubu as the substantive chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by President Mohammadu Buhari is a good development, Lagos-based lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana has said.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), told Daily Trust in an interview that with a substantive INEC leadership now in place, the forthcoming Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections will be legal.
It would be recalled that Falana had consistently advocated for the appointment of a substantive INEC chairman, insisting that the governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states would be illegal without a substantive INEC leadership.
He had said in a statement on Sunday that the electoral commission is currently constituted by two national commissioners and therefore cannot take any valid decision.
However, Falana in a brief chat with Daily Trust said that the President had hearkened to the call for a substantive chairman which is a good development. He noted that the President had only nominated the chairman and five other national commissioners who would be confirmed by the Senate.
He said, “That the President has nominated the chairman and commissioners is a good development so that these elections (Kogi and Bayelsa’s) would not be declared illegal on the ground of lack of membership of INEC. I think it is a good development”.
Meanwhile, speaking to Daily Trust on the appointment of Prof Yakub, Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Awwal Musa Rafsanjani, said the appointment of the new INEC chairman was “purely based on merit and integrity.”
Rafsanjani, who spoke in a telephone chat, said: “Given the fact that the man has integrity and does not have any record of negligence of duty or corruption, we believe he will add value to INEC and consolidate on the achievements of Jega. INEC needs people with track records.”
“We want him to make sure that some of the lapses observed by different monitors during the elections are corrected. Also, let INEC be an independent organization in which every Nigerian, irrespective of political party, will have confidence. We also want proper funding for INEC.”