INEC Chair, Mahmoud Yakubu, Under Investigation Over $50m

The head of Nigeria’s election management body, is suspected to have diverted some of the donor funds to private use.

Sources conversant with the unfolding situation disclosed to Pointblanknews that traces of Yakubu’s investments as well as individuals who helped him facilitate such transactions have been identified and are also being investigated.

The sources revealed that the probe was being conducted by the donor countries who rejected the financial report presented by the chairman on how the funds were used.

The key donors were the United States (US) and the European Union.

While the US donated $25 million to INEC, the EU gave the electoral commission €39million (N17.94bn).

INEC budgeted and received N355 billion for the conduct of the 2023 general election last May.

Yakubu, a professor of History, conducted the 2019 and general elections.

While the 2019 presidential election attracted a lot of dispute, the 2023 presidential poll is ranked as the most expensive yet disastrous electoral exercises in Nigeria’s history.

The latter poll saw a remarkably increased use of technology, especially the deployment of Bimodal Verification Modal System (BVAS) machines for voter verification and authentication, as well as the IREV which was meant to openly transmit results in real time on the commission’s website.

However, while the BVAS recorded appreciable success, the IREV, midway into the election process failed to transmit presidential election results in real time.

This is in spite of the fact that it transmitted results of federal legislative elections which were held the same day and time presidential poll.

Besides the massive logistics crisis that surrounded the polls, there was difficulty to upload results of the election from the polling units by INEC staff as the network channel used by the commission was shut down.

Meanwhile, the commission had budgeted N177Billion for anti-hacking software.

The commission’s spokesman, Festus Okoye, had on election day issued a statement blaming a glitch for the failure of the IREV to function as planned.

Yakubu’s repeated promise to Nigerians and the international community that the commission will use these technology tools had attracted a lot of donations to enable the commission deliver on mandate.

Besides dispelling a claim, ahead of the election, of plans to jettison the real time transmission of results on Election Day, Yakubu had assured the international community through the Chatham House in the UK of INEC’s resolve and preparedness to deploy both BIVAS and IREV for the contentious poll.

The opposition parties and their candidates, PDP’s Atiku Abubakar and Labour Party’s Peter Obi, have since rejected the outcome the election which produced APC’s Bola Tinubu as president, citing among other things, the failure of commission to respect the law which provided for the use of IREV. They also declared a vote of no confidence in Yakubu.

But a source who spoke to Pointblanknews said

The source said, “Aside suffering a Visa Ban, Prof Mahmoud Yakubu is under investigation over how he spent donations from the United States, European Union and other foreign donors.

“The US gave INEC $25 million to help INEC, while the EU gave €39million (N17.94bn) for the conduct of transparent, credible and inclusive 2023 general elections in Nigeria.

“However, expenditure reports sent by INEC to the donors were considered unacceptable. Properties and investments overseas linked to Yakubu have been traced, including a private jet.

“The proxies he used to acquire them were also identified. How he acquired those properties investments and when are now subject of investigation,” the source said.

Recall that the European Union Election Observation Mission (EUEOM), in its report after the general election, gave INEC a poor rating. The presidency and commission rejected the verdict.