A senator, Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna Central) has described the call for the removal of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmoud Yakubu, as unnecessary.

The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum had on Monday, demanded the removal of Mr Yakubu, who was appointed to the office by President Muhammadu Buhari on October 21, 2015, succeeding Amina Zakari, who served as acting chairman.

The leaders expressed fear he (Mr Yakubu) may not deliver free and fair elections in 2019.

They said: “The bug of nepotism and sectionalism that this administration is renowned for has also eaten up the leadership of the commission; there were accumulated indications indicating Mr Yakubu might rig the election in favour of the president”.

In a statement, Mr Sani said the incumbent INEC Chairman has not in anyway, demonstrated “inclination or proclivity to unfairness or injustice in his conduct and his leadership of the electoral umpire”.

He said Mr Yakubu has kept to the “credible standards of transparency in Edo and Anambra Governorship elections and subsequent bye elections nationwide and Nigerians are now more awakened and conscious of their electoral rights”.

“The leaders have the fundamental rights to raise issues and observations in any of the activities of INEC and demand redress. The track records of the chairman and his pedigree is enough assurance and guarantee to give him the benefit of the doubt to lead INEC through the next elections,” he said.

The lawmaker also stated that it is impossible for Mr Yakubu to bow to any form of pressure from any quarter to undermine the 2019 polls.

He also said he believes Mr Buhari will not tamper with the duties of INEC.

“The President that openly called on Nigerians to vote for whoever they want has raised the bar of assurance in the credibility of the electoral process.

“In 2019, Nigerians will vote for the vehicle to take them to the future, either by trucks, tractors, trains or ambulances,” he said.

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