The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, says the commission is completely independent in the discharge of its duties.Professor Yakubu stated this during an interview on Channels Television’s Roadmap 2019, a special political programme anchored by Ladi Akerelodu-Ale on Mondays.
He noted that INEC has not been pressurised from any quarter since he assumed office and the electoral body would resist such stoutly.
“Since I assumed duty on the 9th of November 2015, I have been under no pressure from any quarter at all and this commission will never yield to any pressure from any quarter,” the INEC Chairman said.
“I have been under no pressure to do what is wrong and I will never do what is wrong. So, I think there is a sufficiency of guise in the law; the independence is what we make of that independence,” he added.
With about nine months to the general elections, the INEC boss assured that the commission is working hard to ensure the polls are conducted without prejudice.
He, however, pointed out that the independence of the electoral body comes from the integrity of the election managers, saying it is not necessarily drawn from statutory provisions.
On the process of selecting an INEC chairman, Professor Yakubu noted that it is better to say the President nominates rather than appoints a candidate.
He stressed further that the constitutional provision for appointing an INEC chairman requires that the President must first consult with the National Council of States.
The Council of State is made up of the President, all the governors, serving presiding officers of the National Assembly, former Chief Justices of the Federation, as well as former presidents and Heads of State among others.
Professor Yakubu explained, “There is a process of consultation, then it (the name) is submitted to the National Assembly and the NASS screens the candidate and then submit their recommendations to the President who swears the commission in.”
He added that the process of removing an INEC chairman is also clearly defined by the law.
According to the INEC boss, it requires a two-thirds majority of members of the Senate and the House of Representatives to remove an INEC chairman.
He added that the other ways include by means of voluntary resignation or in the case of ill-health.