Buhari Vows To Deal With Electoral Offenders, Swears In New INEC Chairman, National Commissioners

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…. New INEC Chair Promises To Build On Jega’s Legacies

President Muhammadu Buhari, has reiterated the need to have those whose actions or inactions lead to cancellation of election results to be punished if found culpable, saying it is not enough for tribunals to cancel and order re-run of an election.

Buhari spoke on Monday at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa in Abuja after swearing in the new Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The president said this must be done whether the culprits are individuals as candidates or party agents; institutions as political party or electoral body; public officers as electoral staff or security agents.

He said that the perpetrators of electoral violence and thuggery should not be spared.

The new INEC chairman is Prof. Mahmood Yakubu while the National Commissioners are Amina Zakari, Solomon Adedeji Soyebi, Antonia Taiye Okoosi-Simbine, Muhammed Mustafa Lecky and Baba Shettima Arfo.

The ceremony was attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki, House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Chief of Staff to the President Abba Kyari, Secretary to the Government of the Federation Babachir David Lawal, among others.

President Buhari also spoke on the justice administration of the electoral tribunals, saying: “Another area of concern is the justice administration of the electoral tribunals. It is long overdue that our justice system addresses these shortcomings.

“It is not just enough for an election to be cancelled and a new one ordered. It would be much better if all whose actions or inactions led to the cancellation of such election to be investigated and if culpable prosecuted whether they are individuals as candidates or party agents, Institutions such as political party, electoral body, or public officers as electoral staff or security agents.”

Meanwhile, the newly appointed Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmoud Yakubu, formally took over the reins of office at INEC headquarters with a promise to sustain the legacy of immediate past administration especially in the conduct of 2015 general election.

Yakubu made the pledge in Abuja vowing to be courageous and to guided by the constitution and electoral Acts in the discharge of his duty.

He noted that that contrary to views expressed by many that the INEC job is very difficult , that he did not think that way provided one stick to the extant provisions and laws.

“I am not sure that is really difficult, simply because the constitution is very clear. The roles and responsibilities of INEC are very clearly spelt out and the provisions of the electoral act are also very clear.

“Our responsibility is to ensure that in whatever we do, we are guided by the letter and spirit of the constitution. And these we are going to do with courage.

“Whatever we need to do, we will ensure that this is done courageously and according to the law,’’ he said.

Yakubu said that he is aware of the high expectations of Nigerians and promises not to fail them

“We will be courageous in what we do, and we will be courageous and just to all that we are supposed to serve,’’ he assured adding that Nigeria and INEC cannot afford to slide below its present standing before the international community.

“We have come a long way. We have hard commendations both locally and internationally, in the conduct of the 2015 general election. As I said at the senate screening our responsibility as a new commission is actually to consolidate and add value.

“Nations don’t make progress by always starting a fresh; nations make progress because there is a building block which we now build more, he stated.

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