Members of the Peoples Democratic Party caucus in the Senate and their counterparts in the ruling All Progressives Congress may clash at plenary on Tuesday when the red chamber determines whether or not to confirm the appointment of Prof Mahmood Yakubu for a second term in office.

Yakubu had been re-appointed by the President, Major General (retd), for a second term of five years in office as Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Already, the Senate Committee on INEC, led by its chairman, Senator Kabiru Gaya, had screened Yakubu and promised that the report of the exercise would be submitted to the Senate at plenary on Tuesday.

Some APC members of the panel who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity expressed satisfaction with Yakubu’s performance during the screening and vowed to ensure his confirmation by the entire Senate.

One of the APC senators said, “Prof Yakubu has done well so far as INEC chairman. All we need to do is amend critical aspects of the Electoral Act which are causing problems for the commission and we would have a perfect electoral process that is credible.”

However, the Majority Leader of the Senate, who also heads the PDP caucus in the Red Chamber, Enyinnaya Abaribe, told our correspondent that the party’s members would definitely make their position very clear on the floor next week.

He said members of the opposition party would need to be convinced that Yakubu’s conduct of the 2019 elections was the best that Nigeria deserved.

He said, “Our opinion is that what happened in 2019 cannot be accepted by anybody.

“How could an organisation claim it did not have a central server or portal whereas the same server was used during subsequent elections in Nasarawa, Edo, and Ondo states?

“At what point did their server start working? We are definitely going to ask questions because we cannot accept the same thing that happened in 2019.

“What is obvious is that INEC was intimidated by the ruling party in 2019 and we won’t allow a similar thing to happen in 2023.”

But Gaya said members of the Senate Committee on INEC had asked “the most needed questions” from Yakubu.

He said, “Other senators who are not members of the committee also sent us electronic mails and text messages on the questions they would have asked if Yakubu were to be screened at plenary.

“We have asked the relevant questions in the presence of journalists.

“I think he (Yakubu) did the best he could in answering all questions we asked him.

“Members of the committee would sit again to analyse the answers he gave and report to the Senate for further legislative action.”

Meanwhile, APC members in the Senate have received support from a coalition of opposition political parties who have urged the red chamber to confirm Yakubu’s appointment.

The National Chairman of Action Alliance, Kenneth Udeze, who is leading the coalition, said Yakubu’s performance during his first five-year tenure informed their action.

Udeze said since Yakubu had been cleared in the past, his performance in the last five years should be a good reason to confirm him.

He listed some of Yakubu’s achievements to include electronic transfer of results from polling units to the central server and the prompt announcement of results.

“There is the need for the Senate to confirm Prof Yakubu’s appointment. We are solidly behind him and we are impressed by his performance so far,” he said.

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INEC: APC, PDP senators may clash as Senate determines Yakubu's fate Tuesday
INEC: APC, PDP senators may clash as Senate determines Yakubu's fate Tuesday

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