After five years tenure, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, will on Monday (today) begin a fresh term.
He was reappointed by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), making him the first INEC chairman to have his tenure extended by another five years.
Yakubu will be handing over to himself at a ceremony to be conducted at the Conference Room of INEC in Maitama area of Abuja.
Since the onset of presidential system of government 41 years ago in 1979, Nigeria has had nine chairmen of the electoral umpire under different names, including Federal Electoral Commission popularly known as FEDECO; National Electoral Commission; National Electoral Commission of Nigeria and INEC in succession.
The chairmen were Michael Ani, Victor Ovie-Whiskey, Eme Awa, Humphrey Nwosu, Ephraim Akpata, Abel Guobadia, Maurice Iwu, Attahiru Jega, and Yakubu.
Opinions had however been divided on the reappointment of Yakubu for another five years.
A Professor of Law and former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, believed that five years as INEC chair was enough.
He said, “In my own estimation, anyone who does the job of INEC chair conscientiously for a full five years would not want to return for a second term..”
The Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, through its National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin had demanded that Yakubu’s successor “should be from one of the Southern zones.”
A political think tank, Centre for Democracy and Development, through its Director, Idayat Hassan, however, said since a national commissioner could serve two terms, Yakubu was “eligible to serve a second term.”
But the President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Movement, Mallam Kabiru Yusuf, had commended Buhari for the reappointing of Yakubu, describing it as an opportunity for him to prepare adequately in order to deliver credible general elections in 2023.