The former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the commission will perform better if its chairman is not appointed by the country’s president.
While speaking at a public lecture organized by the Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Research and Training organised in Kano, former INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega, disclosed that the commission will perform better if its chairman is not appointed by the country’s president.
According to Jega, this desired change could be achieved if a legislation is made to that effect to make the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) more independent.
The professor of political science said having an autonomous INEC is a critical factor for achieving more credible elections in the future.
He said further that this is especially necessary in the areas of funding and appointment of its chairman and commissioners.
He recalled that an electoral reform committee led by Muhammed Uwais, former chief justice of Nigeria, had recommended that INEC bshould be given autonomy to appoint its chairman and commissioners, a recommendation which was not accepted by the executive.
“Still the president nominates INEC’s chairman,” he said. “It is important to legislate the appointment of the INEC chairman. 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, however, stated that the commission currently enjoys relative autonomy in terms of funding. “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 added.