Abuja – New Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on Monday assured that he would be courageous and guided by the Constitution and Electoral Act in the discharge of his assignment.
Yakubu made the pledge at INEC headquarters while assuming officer in Abuja.
He said that he would not be deterred in spite of insinuation that his responsibility was enormous and difficult.
“I am not sure that it is really difficult; this is 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 it is done courageously and according to the law,’’ he said.
Yakubu promised to be just to all and never to fail the expectations of Nigerians in his new role, maintaining that he loved hard tasks.
“One of my bosses used to say that the public office has tenure, a minimum of one day and a maximum of the tenure.
“In the case of the INEC, it is a minimum of a one day and a maximum of five years; in-between is the privilege to serve. We will never ever fail this nation.
“We will be courageous in what we do, and we will be courageous and just to all that we are supposed to serve,’’ he said.
Yakubu also pledged to build on the successes recorded by his predecessor, especially in the conduct of the 2015 general elections.
“We have come a long way; we have had commendations both locally and internationally, on the conduct of the 2015 general elections.
“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 will now build more,’’ he said.
He commended the outgoing acting chairman of the commission, Hajia Amina Zakari, for holding forth, and called for cooperation and understanding of all staff of the commission.
Earlier, Zakari had said that the inauguration of the new commission members had assuaged the fears of Nigerians about its ability to conduct upcoming elections in Bayelsa and Kogi.
Zakari said that under her watch, the commission successfully conducted two by-elections and had seriously prepared for the coming governorship polls.
She said that INEC was committed to conducting free and fair elections ‘’in a credible manner, based on international best practices’’.
“With the new members of the commission, we are fully ready to conduct those two elections.
“We have not rested on our oars in the last four months; we have tried to maintain the services of INEC to the best of our ability.
“We hope by the time the commission settles down, it will not be difficult to continue where we have left,’’ Zakari said.
Zakari who acted for four months, appreciated the members of the commission for keeping pace with the electoral reform and ensuring continues service to the nation, even when the commission was not fully constituted.
She expressed the hope that the commission would continue to deliver on the expectations of Nigerians. (NAN)