By Emmanuel Oloniruha/Abuja
Staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) trooped out Thursday to accord a rousing welcome to the re-appointed Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, as he assumed office for a second term of five years.
The Vice President of INEC Cooperative Society, Mrs. Zainab Ndaku presented a card on behalf of staff. Also, Secretary to the Commission, Mrs Rose Oriaron-Anthony came out to welcome him into the premises.
Later at a brief takeover ceremony, the man who had held forte, AVM Ahmed Tijani Mu’azu handed over to Yakubu, the first electoral umpire to return for a second term.
He then met the commissioners and staff to spell his agenda for the second term.
He said that quick passage of the Electoral Act amendment remains his top 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 by the first quarter of 2021.
“I am glad that in his response, the Senate President has assured the nation only yesterday at the public hearing on the Electoral Act amendment that the National Assembly is committed to that target.
“He said that it is not only achievable but they will ensure that it is actualized.”
Yakubu added that the immediate area of attention for the Commission would be the resumption of Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) by the first quarter of 2021.
He said that the exercise would continue for at least to six months to 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 added that without clean register of voters , there could not be a 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.”
Yakubu promised that in due course INEC would give details of other activities going to 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 accomplish between now and election in 2023. Some will be carried out simultaneously.”
Yakubu thanked the acting Chairman, Muasu and other national commissioners for holding forte in the last one month and for the successful conduct of 15 by-elections in 11 states on Dec. 5.
Mu’azu said that while holding forte, the commission was able to conduct 15 by-election successfully.
He commended members and staff of the commission for their support and the successes recorded while awaiting Yakubu’s confirmation.