Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has reiterated the need for the Senate to reconsider the method of appointing the chairman and commissioners of the electoral body.
Jega made this point during an interview on Arise Television on Tuesday, emphasizing the importance of reviewing the appointment process. He clarified that his remarks had been misconstrued to imply that the 2023 elections were compromised, which was not his intention. Instead, he stressed that Resident Electoral Commissioners should ideally be appointed by the commission itself.
In his words, “A situation in which the person who appointed the chairman is also the same person who nominated or appointed the Resident Electoral Commissioners brings indiscipline into the system and the lack of a clear line of authority. When we look at the 2023 general elections, we know that some people in the corridors of power succeeded in getting Resident Electoral Commissioners appointed, and, regrettably, these Resident Electoral Commissioners were not thoroughly vetted and screened by the Senate.”
He went on to highlight that these appointees had sometimes disregarded lawful instructions from INEC, potentially acting in alignment with those responsible for their appointment. Jega stressed the need for an independent, transparent process separate from the presidency for the appointment of the Chairman and Commissioners to ensure that the process is free from undue influence.
Furthermore, Jega recommended that the commission should be empowered to appoint Resident Electoral Commissioners, and there should be efforts to professionalize the staff of INEC. He emphasized that this shift in the appointment process was vital to maintain the integrity and credibility of the electoral commission.