Nigeria: What I Will Do Differently in My Second Term - Prof Yakubu

27 November 2020

The chairmanship nominee of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, yesterday, said he will deepen the use of technology in elections in his second term as chairman of the commission.

He also said the poor performance by those elected into offices was partly responsible for low voter turnout during elections.

Yakubu, who was first appointed as INEC chair in 2015 by President Muhammadu Buhari, stated this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on INEC for screening. He was reappointed after his first tenure lapsed November 9, this year.

He said while the deployment of technology had helped improve the country's electoral process, there were misgivings in some quarters on the efficacy of some of the technologies.

"What I want to do differently is to deepen the use of technology in elections. It has helped us enormously. The registration of voters is biometric. We are now uploading results online by dedicated portal and we will continue to explore other ways by which the electoral process can continue to benefit from the deployment of technology.

"I know that there are misgivings in some quarters about the efficacy of some aspects of technology that is being deployed but the commission is determined to continue to deepen the use of technology in elections," Yakubu said.

Prof Yakubu blamed low voter turnout during elections on the poor performance of political office holders, electoral violence and lack of voter mobilisation.

According to him, while the electoral body used voter education to galvanise the electorate for participation in elections, political parties did the real mobilisation for the required high turnout in elections.

He assured that the commission would continue to work hard in the area of voter education while stressing the need for political parties to do more in the area of voter mobilization. "It's a shared responsibility," he added.

Prof Yakubu also appealed to the National Assembly to expedite work on the amendment of the Electoral Act.

He said elections could not be conducted in an atmosphere of uncertainty, adding that work on the electoral framework had to be finalised before the 2023 elections would be conducted.

"We are appealing to you to please expeditiously conclude work on the Electoral Act so that there would be certainty in what we do. I hope you will give us the Electoral Act by the end of the first quarter of 2021," he urged.

Prof Yakubu noted that over one million Nigerians of voting age were being denied voting right during elections due to the provisions of the country's electoral law.

He said the current law, which allows voters to vote only where they are registered, has denied INEC and ad hoc staff deployed for election duties, journalists and election observers the opportunity to exercise their civic duty during elections.

Why we're yet to screen Onochie, others - Senate panel

The Chairman, Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano), said his committee is yet to screen four other nominees for INEC national commissionership because their names have not been referred to the committee.

He said as soon as the committee received the nominations, it would work on it.

The nominees are: Lauretta Onochie (Delta), Prof. Muhammad Sani Kallah, Katsina; Prof. Kunle Cornelius Ajayi (Ekiti) and Saidu Babura Ahmad.

On the allegation of N2bn bribery against Prof Yakubu, Gaya said: "From our own investigation, it is a lie. Nothing came into the National Assembly. Why should we raise an issue that doesn't exist? But I know that the leadership of the Senate has taken legal action against the perpetrators."

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