Mahmood Yakubu is an academian and current chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), born on May 1962 in Bauchi State of Nigeria. Mahmood was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari on October 21, 2015 to succeed Amina Zakhari, who had served as Vice-President.
Early life and Education
Mahmood Yakubu was born in Bauchi State in northern Nigeria. He completed his primary and secondary education at Cobi Primary School and Toro Public Teachers College respectively. He went on to study at Sokoto University (now Usmanu Danfodio University), where he became the first and only Northern Nigerian in history to obtain a first-class diploma. At postgraduate level, he studied International Relations at Wolfson College, Cambridge, graduating with an MA in 1987, Nigerian History at Oxford University, and a PhD in 1991 from Cambridge and Oxford Universities. He has won an overseas study scholarship on his three occasions and has also won a federal scholarship from the Federation of Universities Association.
Mahmood Yakub is married and has children.
Mahmood Yakubu’s estimated net worth ranges from his $1 million to his $5 million.
Professor Yakubu began his academic career in 1986 as a postgraduate assistant at the University of Jos, from which he went to the UK for postgraduate studies. He went back to the university in year 1992 as a Lecturer.
He joined the Nigerian Defense Academy in Kaduna in 1993 as a Senior Lecturer and was promoted to Leader in 1995 and Professor in 1998. At the NDA, he served as Chair of the Department from 1994 to 1995, Dean of Philosophy and Curriculum Officer from 1998 to 2000, Member of the Army Selection Committee from 1998 to 2003, and He served as Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy for the second term and has been Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy since 2004. From 2004 until 2006 he served as the Dean of the Post Graduate Pioneer and from 2004 he served as Chair of the School of Staff. He owns over 50 publications.
From 2006 to 2007, Prof. Yakubu worked for the Federal Ministry of Education as a Task Team Leader for Higher Education and as a member of the Presidential Technical Committee for the Integration of Federal Universities. In 2007 she was appointed Executive Director of the Education Trust Fund (ETF). This fund later became the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TEETFund). In this capacity, he was a member of the federal team to renegotiate the federal agreement with the Union of Universities Individuals (ASUU) chaired by Deacon Gamaliel Onosode. He has also served on the Presidential Task Team on Education, the Presidential Scholarships Committee for Innovation and Development (PRESID), the Implementation Committee on the Presidential Fund for the Revitalization of Nigerian Public Universities, and the Minister of Implementation on the Establishment of Nine New Universities. I also participated in the committee. He is chairman of the Presidential Commission for Needs Analysis of Federal Universities, Almajiri Education System, and Nigerian Public Universities.
By the end of his tenure at TETFund in 2012, Professor Yakubu had achieved multiple goals within his five years and introduced multiple innovations to the country’s higher education system. These innovations include the Academic Staff Training and Development programme, under which over 6,000 lecturers from various Higher Education Institutions were sponsored for postgraduate degree programmes at various Nigerian universities and over 2,000 in Universities overseas; the Special High Impact Intervention Project, directed at the systematic development of the teaching, learning and research facilities in selected HEI, with 20 Universities, 12 Polytechnics and 12 Colleges of Education across the six geo-political zones as beneficiaries; the National Research Fund to enable Nigerian academics undertake advanced research for national development and the National Book Development Fund to support the publication of research findings, as well as the resuscitation of the publication of over 100 HEI-based journals and 18 exceptional doctoral theses.
Professor Yakubu was co-opted in 2013 as a technical member of the Implementation Monitoring Committee (IMC) on the Presidential Special Intervention Fund for the Revitalization of Nigerian Public Universities and served as the Assistant Secretary in charge of finance and administration during the National Conference in 2014.
He is a Fellow of the Historical Society of Nigeria and the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations. He delivered the convocation lecture at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 2009 and the participated in the Colloquium to mark the 30th Anniversary Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State in 2013. He holds the Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) from the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, as well as the Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) from the Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki and Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma.
Yakubu is a lecturer, guerrilla warfare expert, and professor of political history and international studies at the Nigerian Defense Academy. Prior to his appointment as Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood served as Executive Director of the Higher Education Trust Fund and in 2007 he was appointed to the post by then-President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. During his tenure as secretary, the National Book Development Fund was established to support 102 journals owned by professional organizations.
At the 2014 National Convention he served as Assistant Secretary of Finance and Administration and in 2013 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Nigerian Public Affairs Association.
President Muhammadu Buhari elected Mahmood Yakubu as chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in 2015. He oversaw his 2019 general and gubernatorial elections in Ekiti, Anambra, Osun, Edo and other states.
On January 7, 2019, he released a new voting system for his 2019 General Election and introduced card reader. This helped to minimize voter fraud.
President Buhari elected him for his second term in 2020.
In 2023, through the revised election law, he introduced BVAS. This has helped stop the problems of over-elections and padding of election results that have plagued Nigeria’s electoral system.
Reportedly, Professor Yakubu had to pay a significant sum to allow his reappointment. According to one report, Yakubu paid at least N3 billion in bribes to extend his tenure as INEC president for another five years.
He reportedly gave a large sum of N2 billion to a group headed by Senate Speaker Ahmed Rawan and another group of N1 billion.
Senior government officials and directors of INEC, considered wealthy and in charge of important sectors, deployed and mobilized this huge sum of money.
The printing of his INEC ballots to be used in the election was done by commission contractor Mohammed Sanimsa, who is currently a Senator of Niger. His company is called Activate Technologies. The deaths of former chiefs of staff of President Buhari, Abba Kyari and Alhaji Isa Huntua, and the disappearance of Maman Dawla, a key member of a group of trusted allies Buhari relies on before making important decisions was also reported to have contributed to the deterioration of the situation.
The absence of these people was thought to have provided an ideal opportunity for influential government officials to influence the president with a personal agenda to extend Yakubu’s term of office.
Yakubu’s 2019 elections in seven states namely Sokoto, Bauchi, Adamawa, Benue, Kano, Plateau and Rivers were declared inconclusive under his Mahmood oversight. Many Nigerians were outraged by these statements.
Many skeptics were shocked by his Yakubu handling of the Zamfara and Rivers state elections. His honesty, objectivity and impartiality were tested in these two elections. The ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) party was unable to submit its candidate lists for the two states in time due to internal disputes.
Nothing will stop then-APC chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, from running candidates for his party in his two states. Yakubu stood up for what was right and bravely called him over the cliff. APC filed a lawsuit, but it was dismissed. Thanks to Mahmood’s fairness and resilience, the two states are now run by governors of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).