UPDATE: Yakubu resumes at INEC, seeks quick passage of amended Electoral Act

• Says CVR to commence 2021

Professor Mahmoud Yakubu resumed at the Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday for a fresh term of five years.

Yakubu who vacated his office last November ahead of his screening and confirmation by the Senate was sworn in for a fresh tenure on Wednesday by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Addressing INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners, National Commissioners and newsmen, Professor Yakubu pleaded with the National Assembly to give urgent priority to passage of the amended Electoral Act.

He also revealed that he would ensure that Nigerians get a clean Voters Register ahead of 2023 general elections.

He said his Commission would commence the continuous Voters Register in the first quarter of next year.

Professor Yakubu maintained that a credible Voters Register was a sufficient condition for the credible electoral process in the country.

He said: “Our work continues, the quick passage of the Electoral Act amendment is a top priority and 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 next year.

“I am glad that in his response, the Senate President assured the nation only yesterday at the public hearing on the Electoral Act amendment that the National Assembly is committed to that target and is not only achievable but they will ensure that it is actualized.

“The immediate area of attention for the commission is the resumption of Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) also in the first quarter of next year and this will continue at least to six months to the 2023 general election. So, we will continue for well over one year until six months to the general election. 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 we 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. Without a clean register of voters, you can’t have a credible election and we are committed to cleaning up the register of voters. In doing so, we hope to introduce new technology for voters enrolment in 2021 drawing from the lessons we learnt in the last exercise in 2017 and 2018.

“In due course, the commission will give details of other activities going to the 2023 election. We have exactly 799 days to the next General Election held on 18th of February, 2023. We have identified 1508 activities that we must accomplish between now and election in 2023. Some will be carried out simultaneously.”

Professor Yakubu commended Vice Marshal Ahmed Muazu (rtd) who assumed the office in an acting capacity while he was away for the successful conduct of last weekend bye-elections in 15 constituencies in 11 states of the federation, including six senatorial districts.

“During that period, the National Commissioners led by Air Vice Marshall Mu’azu were able to successfully conduct bye-elections for the 15 constituencies in 11 states of the federation, including six senatorial districts.

“Each state of the federation has three senatorial districts so when you conduct six senatorial bye-elections is like conducting governorship elections in two states of the federation and that includes Lagos East, as Air Vice Marshall Mu’azu said which has voters register population more than the combined register of voters for the Republic of Gambia and Japan put together. So I want to thank you for holding forte.”

Earlier in his remarks, Air Vice Marshall Muazu thanked Staff of the Commission, political parties and Civil Society Organizations for their cooperation which ensured the success of last weekend bye-elections.

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