By Chucks Okocha
The Unbiased Nationwide Electoral Fee (INEC) yesterday defended President Muhammadu Buhari’s determination to reappoint Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, for a second time period as its chairman, stating that it’s inside the constitutional powers of the president to take action.
It added that it determined to conduct the excellent Nationwide and State Meeting elections on December 5 as a result of there may be an improved safety state of affairs within the nation and that Nationwide Youth Service Corps members have resumed their nationwide service after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Talking in an interview with THISDAY, the Nationwide Commissioner accountable for Data and Chairman Voter Schooling, Mr. Festus Okoye, stated: “The appointment of nationwide and resident electoral commissioners in addition to the chairman of the fee is the unique duty of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Such an appointment is topic to affirmation by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Okoye who stated that there was no constitutional breach within the reappointment of Yakubu, blamed the report of a purported ‘rumpus’ in INEC on these he described as fifth columnists, explaining that the story was planted in newspapers phrase for phrase by outsiders who’ve ulterior motives.
“The Nigerian folks have endorsed the reappointment of Professor Yakubu because the chairman.
“The worldwide group has expressed satisfaction along with his reappointment and said that the fee is in protected fingers.
“The chairman has instilled braveness, dynamism, and professionalism within the working of the fee. He’s a believer in constitutionalism and owes absolute constancy to the rule of legislation and due course of.
“The expectation is a speedy affirmation of his appointment. The Senate is made up representatives of the folks of Nigeria and can give vent to the desires of the folks of Nigeria.
“We’re assured that every one constitutional and statutory necessities have been met and shall be met within the appointment and affirmation of the chairman,” he added.
Earlier than stepping apart, Okoye stated that “the chairman charged the nationwide commissioners to not permit the actions of the fee to be affected on account of his absence and the retirement of different nationwide commissioners.
“The fee is made up of 12 nationwide commissioners and the chairman making it 13. Presently, there are six nationwide commissioners remaining and positively the work is gigantic however we have now the capability and the braveness to deal with the challenges.
“The chairman ran a collegiate fee and every nationwide commissioner has at one time or the opposite acted within the absence of the chairman. We’re due to this fact accustomed to the workplace and its calls for and we’re decided to stay as much as expectation.”
Okoye additionally described the connection between INEC and the Nationwide Meeting as cordial.
“This fee has a wholesome relationship with the Senate Committee on INEC and the Home Committee on Electoral Issues. We’ve made far-reaching suggestions to the Nationwide Meeting regarding the modification of the Electoral Act and the alteration of the structure. We’re assured that these suggestions shall be favourably acquired by the Nationwide Meeting. We’re irrevocably dedicated to deepening using expertise within the electoral course of. We’re dedicated to knowledgeable and intellectually pushed fee. We’ve the braveness and presence of thoughts to institutionalise reforms and convey credibility to the electoral course of, ” he said.
He denied that there was any disagreement between the nationwide commissioners eventually Thursday’s assembly with the resident electoral commissioners.
In keeping with Okoye, “There isn’t a disagreement between the nationwide electoral commissioners and the resident electoral commissioners regarding the date and timing of the 15 pending bye-elections in 11 states of the federation.
“The fee met with the resident electoral commissioners on 22nd October 2020 and deliberated on the 15, excellent bye-elections scheduled for 31st October 2020 and determined to droop identical on account of the safety state of affairs within the nation and the environmental challenges being skilled in a number of the states.
“The fee met once more on Thursday, fifth November 2020, to additional evaluation the state of affairs and determined to seek the advice of with political events, civil society teams, the media and the Inter-Company Consultative Committee on Election Safety in addition to the resident electoral commissioners to determine on a date for the elections.
“The fee met with these stakeholders on the 10th and 11th of November 2020 and with the resident electoral commissioners on the 12th of November 2020 and on Friday the 13th day of November 2020, the fee met and glued December 5, 2020 for all of the pending by-elections.
“The fee consulted with the crucial stakeholders and the preponderance of opinion was in favour of holding the elections over the past week of November or the primary week of December.
“It’s the unique duty of the fee to repair dates of election and the fee doesn’t share this duty with any particular person, celebration or organisation.
“The fee can seek the advice of stakeholders however the final determination on the dates of elections lie with the fee and the policy-making organ is the fee made up of 12 nationwide commissioners and the chairman,” he stated.
He defined that the fee acquired experiences that the safety state of affairs in many of the states has improved and that the water degree in Bayelsa and in Ibaji State Constituency of Kogi State has receded, therefore the choice to repair December 5 because the date for the bye-elections.
“The fee additionally took into consideration the truth that a number of the corps members educated as ad-hoc workers have handed out and new ones are being mobilised from these which were mobilised to the varied states,” he added.
In keeping with him, the fee is targeted on delivering on the by-elections and won’t be distracted by unfounded insinuations and imaginary disagreements on account of the efficiency of its constitutional and statutory duties.
He defined that the folks of those constituencies need to be represented and the fee is not going to shrink back from its constitutional obligations.