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INEC boss hands over office to acting chair, begins reappointment process

By Idowu Abdullahi,

The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has handed over to Air Vice Marshall Ahmed Mu’azu (retd) to oversee the affairs of the commission, a development said to be part of activities marking the commencement of his confirmation process for the second term in office.

He explained that the interim chairman would act in an acting capacity pending such times he would be confirmed by lawmakers at the upper chambers of the National Assembly.

The former chairman said that his handing over to Mu’azu followed the expiration of his five years tenure and to give room for his confirmation process before the senate while activities of the electoral umpire continue without hindrance.

Speaking during the brief ceremony at the INEC Headquarters in Abuja on Monday, the electoral body boss said that he was satisfied commitment and dedication of Mu’azu, a trait he said, informed his nomination by other commissioners.

He noted that since his first term ended today, it was important for him to demonstrate strict respect for rule of law and the country’s constitution by stepping down and allow a suitable candidate to take the mantle of leadership till his confirmation for second term.

“You may recall that the current Commission was inaugurated in three batches. The chairman and five Commissioners were sworn-in on 9th November 2015, followed by another six Commissioners on December 7, 2016, and one more Commissioner on July 21, 2018. The commission is a constitutional body whose members are appointed for five years which may be renewed for a second and final term. This means that my tenure and that of the first set of five Commissioners ends today.

“As you are already aware, the renewal of my tenure as Chairman of the Commission has been announced, subject to confirmation by the Senate. Our work as election managers requires us to enforce the law, regulations, and guidelines. In doing so, we must demonstrate strict respect for, and compliance with, the Constitution of Nigeria and subsidiary laws.

“Consequently, it will be inappropriate for me to remain in office beyond today, 9th November 2020, without confirmation by the Senate and swearing to another oath of office as provided by law. Pending the conclusion of the statutory process, the remaining National Commissioners have resolved that AVM Ahmed Mu’azu (retd) will oversee the affairs of the Commission.

“It is therefore my pleasure to hand over to him in the interim. We have worked as a team for the last four years. Therefore, there is nothing new to anyone of them. I wish to express my appreciation for the support of the Commission members, the Resident Electoral Commissioners, the Secretary to the Commission, the Director-General of the Electoral Institute, Directors, members of the technical team, heads of the various security agencies deployed to INEC and all staff of the Commission nationwide. I look forward to working with you again,” he said.

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