Why INEC Chairman shouldn’t be Appointed by Presidents – Jega

The former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, has argued against the presidential appointment of INEC chairmen.
Prof Attahiru Jega
Prof Attahiru Jegagoogle

Speaking at a two-day retreat organized for senators by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, Jega explained the need for amendments to the 2022 Electoral Act.

While acknowledging that Nigeria's current electoral laws represent a significant improvement in the country's history, Jega pointed out their imperfections which needs further amendments to eliminate ambiguities, provide clarity, and boost select sections to ensure a fair and transparent electoral process.

Among the proposed amendments, Jega advocated for the mandatory use of electronic transmission of election results, starting from the forthcoming 2027 general election to minimize human error and potential manipulation.

Notably, Jega said that the appointment of the Chairman and National Commissioners of INEC should not be at the discretion of the President. This, he argued, would help safeguard the independence and impartiality of the Commission by reducing the influence of partisan politics in its leadership.

He then called for a review of the law, suggesting that all election-related cases should be resolved and judgments delivered before the date of the swearing-in ceremony in relation to Section 64 of the Electoral Act.

Jega proposed that the section be revised to mandate electronic transmission of election results, encompassing the uploading of polling unit-level results and result sheets used at various stages of result collation.

“INEC would have enough time to prepare for this, if the Act is amended early enough in the ensuing electoral cycle,” he said.

Jega also called for the introduction of either early voting for eligible voters on election duty, such as INEC staff, observers and their drivers, security personnel, and journalists or special arrangement to enable them vote on election day, especially for presidential elections.

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