Former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Attahiru Jega has called on the Federal Government to stop the appointment of the commissions’s chairman.
He rather maintained that the appointment should be left for the legislation if the country really wants the dream of conducting free and fair elections met.
Jega who was responding to questions fielded by participants at a public lecture he delivered in Kano State titled: ‘Electoral Democracy and Integrity in Nigeria: Reflections on INEC’s Transformation 2011-2015’, said an autonomy for the commission was the way forward.
The lecture was organised by the Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Research and Training, Mambayya House.
According to him, granting the commission autonomy to fund and appoint its chairman and commissioners was a bedrock towards the achievement of credible elections subsequently.
He lamented that the executive had ignored the call despite the recommendation by the ex-Chief Justice of Nigeria Lawal Uwais-led electoral reform committee.
“Still the president nominates INEC’s chairman. It is important to legislate the appointment of the INEC chairman,” adding that Nigeria needs more reforms despite the fact that a lot has been achieved.
“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 who served as INEC chairman and left office on the expiration of his first renewable tenure shortly after he conducted the 2015 general elections, also admitted that INEC had gotten relative autonomy in terms of funding because of the recommendations given by the Uwais-led committee, which according to him had the strong backing by the legislature.
He said: “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.”
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