Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says he has passed the stage where he can be intimidated.
In a chat with The Interview, Yakubu vowed not to bow to pressure.
He said this in light of concerns about voter registration and accusations by politicians that INEC could not be trusted to conduct free and fair elections.
Recently, Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers state, said the report of under-age voting in Kano had damaged confidence in INEC.
But Yakubu said both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been making uncomplimentary comments about the commission.
“I have passed the stage where someone can intimidate me to do what is wrong,” he said.
“I have passed that stage, where I can be intimidated, with due respect. And the real test is in what we have done (178 ‘mini’ elections) so far. The most interesting thing for me is that both parties accuse us equally. So, that means we are doing something right.”
He also said he had never faced any pressure from the presidency, or any other quarters, to bend the rules.
Yakubu said poorly conducted elections are a recipe for disaster, adding that INEC under him would not take Nigeria to such path.
“We know that poorly conducted elections are a recipe for disaster… we will never tread that path,” he said.
On the Kano underage voting, the INEC chairman said, “These are elections that are not the legal and constitutional responsibilities of INEC. There are legal entities that conduct local and government elections in this country.
“So, on what basis are we going to prosecute electoral offenders in an election in which INEC is not legally responsible for?”
Reminded that potential abuse of INEC’s register was enough basis for prosecution, he said, the argument could also be stretched to other agencies involved in the process, including the police.
The interview also covered the delayed primaries in the ruling All Progressives Congress, the role of security services, including the use of the army in past elections, and whether or not Yakubu will vote in 2019.
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