Yakubu stated this yesterday when he received a delegation from LEADERSHIP Media Group led by its vice chairman, Chief Mike Okpere, ahead of the LEADERSHIP Annual Conference and Awards ceremony slated for September 9.
INEC had emerged the LEADERSHIP Government Agency of the Year 2020 after a rigorous selection process at a meeting of the Board of Editors of the media organisation in December last year.ADVERTISEMENT
The INEC chairman, who confirmed that he will attend the annual event, said recognitions from organisations like LEADERSHIP Media Group will further encourage the commission to do more in its drive to strengthen the nation’s democracy.
“We are always encouraged by organisations like yours. It gives us the will to do more to serve Nigerians better,” Prof Yakubu said.
He lauded LEADERSHIP Media Group for its contributions towards strengthening the nation’s democracy through dogged pursuit of its role as the fourth estate of the realm.
Prof Yakubu also scored INEC high on delivering free, fair and credible elections, saying the electoral body has repositioned itself to serve Nigeria better.
He specifically noted that none of the off-season elections conducted by the commission under his watch had been nullified by any court based on infractions on its part.
As at the last count, INEC has conducted 26 off-season elections and is scheduled to conduct another one in Delta State next week.
Noting that the commission has evolved over the years into one of the most improved government agencies in the country, Prof Yakubu said with the deployment of technology during elections, INEC now serves Nigerians better.
“If you recall where we are coming from, even if you go back to 1999, from registering voters every year to full biometric registration for the last eleven years, there has been remarkable improvements in our operations,” Yakubu said.
He noted that during the last three electoral cycles in the country, the commission only updated its register and not enrolling eligible voters afresh.
Yakubu stated: “For the last three electoral cycles, we have only been updating the register, not registering people afresh. We have been deepening the use of technology in elections, and we will continue to do so.”
On his part, the director, LEADERSHIP Media Group, Abraham Nda-Isaiah, applauded the commission’s role in conducting free, fair and credible elections in the country.
The LEADERSHIP Conference and Awards ceremony is an annual event where the LEADERSHIPMedia Group Limited celebrates those who have distinguished themselves in the public and private sectors in the preceding year.
In December 2020, LEADERSHIP had in line with its annual tradition of celebrating individuals and organisations that have distinguished themselves in their various fields of endeavour and made outstanding contributions to Nigeria and the world in the course of the year, picked the nominees for its 2020 awards.
While declaring INEC its Government Agency of the Year 2020, the most influential newspaper in the country said the commission was given the honour “for successfully conducting the 2019 general election and other off-season elections, ignoring the antics of certain political actors in a tough political climate like Nigeria, and in the midst of restrictions occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic.”