Yakubu tasks Senate on speedy Electoral Act amendment passage

…Says poor voter Education is a challenge

*As Senate schedules Dec. 9 for public Hearing

By Ignatius Okorocha

President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominee for position of Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC)Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has appealed to the National Assembly to expeditiously pass the Amended Electoral Act Bill before end of first quarter of 2021.

This was as Senate on Thursday declared that it would hold joint Public Hearing with its House of Representatives counterpart on December 9, on the amendment of the Electoral Act.

Yakubu made the call in Abuja on Thursday when he appeared before Senate Committee on INEC for the screening exercise.

He said the passage of the electoral act was critical for the success of the 2023 general elections and ultimately the nation’s electoral system.

He said INEC under his leadership had recommended some areas of amendments in the Electoral Act.

He said if re-appointed, INEC under his watch would consolidate more on ensuring further transparency in the conduct of future elections.

“It is more of what we have done in the past because my belief is that we didn’t have to continue to experiment constantly.

“So we have to consolidate, democracy and operate in the open.

“We have to continue to be open and be transparent in a way that we continue to manage public trust.

“I hope in the next few years, we consolidate in such an extent that Nigerians will be confident that their votes will count and only their votes will determine who eventually wins an elections, this is my hope and commitments.

Another thing is that we will continue to deepen use of technology.

He also said the commission would continue to deepen the deployment of technology in subsequent elections.

“The register of voters is biometric, we are now uploading results on line to dedicated porter and we continue to explore other ways by which the electoral process can benefit from the deployment of technology .

Yakubu also attributed the high level of voter aparty in Nigeria to poor performance and fail promises by politicians to their electorate after winning elections.

He also attributed the inability of political parties to effectively mobilise electorates for elections as also responsible for political aparty.

He said INEC was saddled with responsibility of voter education.

Prof. Abdullahi Zuru a nominee for National Commissioner representing North- West in his remark said he would bring his experience to bear to the on-going deployment of technology in the electoral process if appointed.

Fielding questions from journalists,Chairman Senate committee on INEC, Sen, Kabiru Gaya said,” Let me assure Nigerians that we are flagging off public hearing on the Electoral Act amendment on the 9th of December next month.

“The public hearing will be a joint public hearing between Senate and House of Representatives so that we can fast track the amendment of the Electoral Act because so many Nigerians needed the amendment. This is because there were so much complaints of irregularities during the last election and we want the electoral Act to be amended to give us more transparent election.”

On the controversial allegation that an appointee of President Muhammadu Buhari was among those nominated to the position of Resident Electoral Commissioners(REC) he said,” There are about Four Electoral Commissioners expected to be sent to the Senate for confirmation. When the list is sent to us, we shall see what to do.

Speaking further on the REC’s screening he said the letters to that effect has not been referred to his committee for screening .”So,we are not aware of those names at our committee level. If you heard that on the news, it has not come to us as a committee. When it comes to us as a committee, we will act.”

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