Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the reappointed Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Thursday assumed duty for the second term of five years in office.
Yakubu had at the expiration of his first tenure on Nov.9 handed over the affairs of the commission to INEC National Commissioner, Ahmed Mu’azu, while awaiting Senate confirmation.
Yakubu, during a brief ceremony at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, said that the early passage of the Electoral Act amendment bill remained his topmost priority.
“You will recall that I appealed to the Senate Committee on INEC during my screening two weeks ago to conclude work for the passage of the Electoral Act amendment bill by the first quarter of 2021.
“I am glad that in his response, the Senate President has assured that the National Assembly was committed to that target.
“He said that it was not only achievable but that the lawmakers will ensure that it was actualised,” he said. Yakubu added that his immediate focus was the resumption of Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) across the country in the first quarter of 2021.
He said that the exercise would continue until six months before the 2023 general elections. “We will also use the opportunity as required by law to clean up the register of voters.
“We are happy with our register of voters. It is robust but will continue to see ways by which we can improve the quality of the register. “I am saying so because the credibility of any democratic election draws from the credibility of the register of voters,” he said.
He added that without a clean register of voters, there could be no credible election, assuring that INEC was committed to cleaning up the register of voters.
“In doing so, we hope to introduce a new technology for voters enrollment in 2021 drawing from the lessons we learnt in the last exercise in 2017 and 2018, ” he said.
Yakubu promised that in due course INEC would give details of activities lined up ahead of the 2023 election.
“We have exactly 799 days to the next general election holding on Feb. 18, 2023. “We have identified 1508 activities that we must to accomplish between now and election in 2023.
Some will be carried out simultaneously,” he said. Earlier in his remarks, Mu’azu said that while acting as INEC chairman, the commission was able to conduct 15 by-elections successfully.
He commended members and staff of the commission for their supports for the successes recorded while awaiting Yakubu’s confirmation.
He also commended stakeholders who made the by-elections successful.