Yakubu handed over the affairs of the commission to the retired Air Vice Marshal Ahmed Mu’azu, an INEC national commissioner, during a ceremony at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
His exit from the role is only temporary until the Nigerian Senate confirms his reappointment for a second five-year term as head of the electoral commission.
Yakubu’s first term expired on Monday, alongside the terms of five other national commissioners who were inaugurated on November 9, 2015.
He said his work as an election manager requires him to ensure strict respect for and compliance with the nation’s constitution by stepping down until his official confirmation.
“It will be inappropriate for me to remain in office beyond today without confirmation by the Senate, and swearing to another oath of office as provided by law,” he said.
He said the remaining INEC commissioners resolved that Mu’azu should fill in for him until the reappointment process is completed.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu (right) hands over to the retired Air Vice Marshal Ahmed Mu’azu (left) [INEC]
President Muhammadu Buhari in late October sent a letter of nomination to the National Assembly, but lawmakers are currently on a break till late November when the nomination is expected to be confirmed without delay.
Buhari said the nomination was in accordance with the provision of Section 154 (1) of the 1999 constitution (as amended).
“I am pleased to present for confirmation by the Senate, the nomination of Professor Mahmood Yakubu for appointment as Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for a second and final term,” Buhari said in a letter addressed to Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
Yakubu was first appointed INEC chairman in November 2015 by Buhari months after he became the first opposition candidate to defeat an incumbent to become president.
Yakubu’s tenure has been a mixed bag of credible elections and others plagued by irregularities and accusations of bias.