- The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission Mahmood Yakubu has said he cannot be influenced
- Yakubu said the only job he had ever prayed for is becoming a lecturer
- The INEC boss boasting said, the electoral commission has been neutral in conducting elections across the country
The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Mahmood Yakubu has said irrespective of what happens during election, he cannot be influenced.
Speaking in an interview, Yakubu said the only job he ever prayed for was to become a lecturer.
Yakubu said: “The only job I prayed God to give me was to be a university lecturer and I am now a professor; any other thing I do is bonus. I do not think that there is anybody who can influence me.”
Having completed his doctorate degree at the age of 29, Yakubu said no gift can move him at this level of his life.
“I headed the biggest funding agency in this country and at the end of it I went back to my teaching profession in the university,” Yakubu said.
The INEC boss noted that he has never been approached by any individual or group to do anything outside the provision of the law.
Speaking on the achievement of the commission under his leadership, Yakubu said, INEC has been neutral in conducting elections across Nigeria.
“Look at Rivers, look at the statistics. People criticizing do not look at election figures; in fact the party of the person criticizing us won 70 percent of the elections and it’s an opposition party, yet they would say we are biased.
“When a politician wins an election, he would say the best thing to have happened to this country is INEC and when he loses he would say the worst thing to have happened to this country is INEC.
“I will give you my favorite example but I won’t tell you the state. We conducted governorship election in one of the states and on Election Day, one of the leading political actors went to vote, and unfortunately the card reader could not take the man’s biometrics.
“He turned to the television cameras and abused the hell out of the chairman of the commission and his management; that they told us that these machines would not work and that we keep giving the impression that we are a nation of scammers.
“Well, we conducted elections and he won; we went to present the Certificate of Return at our State office a week later as required by law and the same person turned around to say the best thing to have happened to our elections was the card readers and that whatever the imperfections were, he would work with INEC to improve on it,” he said.
However, admitting that the electoral body has failed to conclude elections in some parts of the nation, Yakubu said the law is very clear on conditions where elections can be suspended or declared inconclusive.
He said: “The law is very clear. There are conditions under which we can suspend elections; violence or natural disasters. The second one is where there is over-voting, INEC is empowered under the law to suspend the process and conduct the election at another time.”
Yakubu said the electoral body in carrying out its roles apply the provisions of the law to declare outcome of elections.
“Remember, after the 2015 general elections, 80 elections were nullified by the courts; 23 elections were upturned and INEC was ordered by the courts to issue certificates of return to the right winners, making a total of 103 elections from the 2015 general elections.
“So far, we have conducted 163 elections and I am happy to say that only one has been nullified by the courts.
“So, be looking at the figures, be looking at the statistics, because these are the markers of what we are doing in the interest of our democracy,” he added.
Meanwhile, it has been gathered that the police is set to request the call data of Rivers state governor from his network service provider.
Governor Wike has been accused of influencing and threatening staff of INEC and some police officers in Etche, Rivers state.
The alleged incident which occurred during the last Rivers rerun election was discovered after an audio tape – which revealed the governor’s threat - was exposed.