ATTAHIRU Jega wants the Nigerian presidents to stop appointing chairmen of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Jega, a professor of Political Science and former of INEC, stated this on Monday, June 12, in Kano while answering questions from participants at a public lecture titled: ‘Electoral Democracy and Integrity in Nigeria: Reflections on INEC’s Transformation 2011-2015’, organised by the Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Research and Training, Mambayya House.
Jega served as INEC chairman and left when his first renewable tenure expired shortly after he conducted the 2015 general elections.
He said giving autonomy to the INEC in funding and appointment of its chairman and commissioners was critical to the achievement of credible elections in the future.
Jega said that although Lawal Uwais, a retired chief justice of Nigeria, who led an electoral reform committee, had recommended that the INEC should be given autonomy to appoint its chairman and commissioners, the call was not accepted by the executive.
“Still the president nominates INEC’s chairman. It is important to legislate the appointment of the INEC chairman,” adding that despite the fact that Nigeria had achieved a lot, there was need for more reforms.
“Ghana that we celebrate has the worst process of appointing chairman of its electoral body. Once the president nominates, the nominee will obviously emerge as chairman and will stay on that position until he reaches his retirement age, which is 70,” he said.
Jega also admitted that the INEC had gotten relative autonomy in terms of funding because of the recommendations given by the Uwais-led committee, which he said had legislative backing.
“INEC currently has account with the CBN where it controls all its money. This has given the commission relative autonomy in terms of funding; once money is released into its account, it can control it,” he said.