The Independent National Election (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has again assured that the 2019 election will be free and fair. He said this during an interaction with political editors of media organisations on Saturday in Lagos.
“If there is anything I am going to leave INEC with is my reputation as academic. I am going back to my academic profession where I came from,” he said.
“So, whatever it takes to earn a good name for this country, for myself and my family I will do so. “The only thing we have is our values and we work very hard to ensure that we leave with our values intact
Yakubu added that the commission had five bye-elections to conduct, to fill the existing vacancies, but it was still awaiting official communication from the National Assembly to declare the seats vacant.
He said while the law compelled INEC to conduct bye-elections within stipulated time, it was the presiding officers of the National Assembly or State House of Assemblies that could declare any seat vacant.
“We have no any power to declare the seat of any lawmaker vacant. “The moment the returning officers make announcement declaring a candidate winner, only the court of law can reverse it.
“We cannot declare vacancy and conduct bye-election unless there is a formal communication from the presiding officers of that Assembly.
“So this is not a matter under the control of the commission.” Yakubu also disclosed that the commission had slightly redesigned its voter register to take care of incidence where the smart card readers could not read the fingerprints of the owner.