The former Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Chairman, Attahiru Jega, has on Thursday, alluded to the fact that his tenure saw the inglorious exit of anincumbent President, for the first time in Nigeria’s history.
The former INEC boss, stated this while delivering a lecture at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, England, titled: ‘Electoral Integrity in Africa:Lessons from Nigeria’s 2011 and 2015 Elections.’Jega stated that the recent elections held in The Gambia and Ghana, which saw the incumbent Presidents losing elections, was something to commend the country and Africa for.
The former INEC boss, went on to expose the hurdles and challenges that confrontedhim during the last 2015 election, that birthed President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress-led, APC, administration.Indirectly taking a swipe at Jonathan, Jegainsisted that INEC under his watch, set an unbeatable record that is being imbibed byother African countries in conducting elections, where incumbent Presidents remain unelected as the people’s choice.He explained that after the 2007 general elections, many Nigerians had written off INEC as a cash and carry organisation thatwent to the highest bidder, adding that, rigging of elections and snatching of ballotpapers were so rife and engrained in the system.
The Professor of Political Science, who said he was called out from the Ivory Tower to conduct elections as INEC Chairman, stated that he had the initial fearof how to protect his integrity, by conducting elections devoid of electoral malpractices.
Jega however, noted that his six months stay as a fellow at the Blavatnik School of Government, has been intellectually stimulating and excellent.Also speaking, the former Managing Director of Access Bank and founder of the Africa Initiative for Governance, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, noted that Jega is one man in the country that has convinced him that people’s votes can always count after an election.“I did not believe that Nigeria could conduct free and fair elections.
Now, a linehas been drawn on the sand that elections in Nigeria will always count.
“Attributed to Ghana and Gambia’s electoral successes to the Nigerian examples which Jega spearheaded, we celebrate Professor Jega, who had made history in Nigeria, by conducting free and fair elections in 2015, and has made history in Africa, which made me a believerin credible electoral processes in Nigeria,” Aigboje said.