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2023: INEC Lists 1,508 Tasks To Do Before Polls

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-Mulls Deploying New Technology For Voter Registration

Yakubu Says I’m Back, Work Continues

Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the reappointed Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, on Thursday assumed office for a second term, saying that the Commission has at least 1, 508 activities to carry out in the processes leading to the 2023 general elections.

Although he did not give details of the list of activities, Yakubu said in due course, the commission will give details of other tasks in the lead up to the 2023 elections.

Yakubu who said that he was back and that work would continue in earnest, added that the commission would commence its Continuous Voter Registration CVR in March, 2021.

“We have exactly 799 days to the next general election holding on 18th February, 2023 and we will ensure that we work hard to achieve the activities. About two weeks ago, I was speaking to the technical team and we identified 1,508 activities that we must accomplish between now and election day in 2023. Some will be conducted simultaneously but that is an interim list. I am sure by the time we analyse, it might be longer but we are committed to ensuring that we achieve them.

“I am back and work continues in earnest”, he declared.

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Yakubu had arrived to a rousing reception by INEC headquarters staff and guests at about 11:20am and went into a closed door session with the national commissioners.

Thereafter, at a brief ceremony to formally take over affairs of the commission, Yakubu pledged to discharge his duties without bias.

Yakubu also disclosed the resolve of the commission to clean up the voter register, adding that a new technology would be introduced into the voter enrollment process.

Yakubu added that, “the immediate area of attention for the commission is the resumption of the Continuous Voter Registration CVR exercise by the fist quarter of next year and this will continue at least until six months to the 2023 general elections”.

“We will also seize the opportunity as required by law to update and clean up the register of voters. We are happy with our register of voters because it is robust but we continue to seek ways by which we can improve the quality of the register. The credibility of any democratic elections draws from the credibility of the register of voters. It is central. Without a clean, credible register of voters, you cannot have a credible democratic elections and we are committed to ensuring that we clean up the register of voters accordingly. In doing so, we hope to introduce a new technology for voter enrollment in 2021 learning from the lessons we learnt in the previous exercises in 2017 and 2018”, he added.

Speaking about the performances of the national commissioners while he was away, Yakubu said he had steadily strengthened the institutional capacity of INEC to carry on with its mandate even in the absence of a Chairman.

Adding: “The successful conduct of the bye-elections under the acting chairman and the five national commissioners is a vindication of my policy over the last five years to nominate a national commissioner by rotation each time I was officially out of the country to oversee the affairs of the Commission.

“In that way, all the national commissioners had at one time or the other acted in my temporary absence. As a result, we have steadily built institutional capacity that the commission can discharge its constitutional responsibilities at all times”.

He expressed optimism in the capacity of the National Assembly to ensure the speedy passage of the Electoral Act amendment Bill.

“We will continue to discharge our responsibilities to our father land. Our work continues. The quick passage of the Electoral Act amendment is a top priority and you would recall that two weeks ago, during my screening for confirmation by the Senate Committee on INEC, I had urged them to conclude work, that is the legislative processes, for the passage of the Electoral Act amendment by the first quarter of next year, meaning that we would be happy if that is done by the end of March 2021. I am glad that only on Wednesday, the Senate President assured the nation that the National Assembly is committed to that target and is not only achievable but would ensure that it is actualized”.

Before handing over the reins of leadership, Muazu congratulated Prof. Yakubu on his reappointment.

He explained how the commission had carried on for the past one month and said invaluable lessons were learned from the conduct of last weekend’s bye-elections.

According to Muazu, INEC was confronted with several challenges, especially security during the bye-elections, lamenting the loss of six police personnel who drowned in Bayelsa State.

Yakubu had on November 9 handed over affairs of the commission to a National Commissioner, Air Vice Marshal Ahmed Muazu (retd).

The development followed the expiration of his first tenure of five years.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on October 27 reappointed Prof. Yakubu for a second term of five years.

Yakubu and five National Commissioners were first sworn in on 9th November 2015 followed by another six National Commissioners on 7th December 2016 and one more National Commissioner on 21st July 2018.

However, Yakubu was again sworn in for a second term on Wednesday by President Muhammadu Buhari following his clearance by the Senate.

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