Following the expiration of his five-year tenure as Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, will bow out of the Commission today, June 30th.
Jega who is from Kebbi State, North-West geopolitical zone, is leaving with six National Commissioners.
They are: Col. M.K. Hammanga (Rtd), Adamawa state, (North East); Dr Ishmael Jikiri Igbani, Rivers state, (South South); Prof. Lai Olurode, Osun state, (South West); Dame Gladys Nne Nwafor, Abia state, (South East); Mrs Thelma Amata Iremiren, Delta state, (South South); and Engr. Dr. Nuru A. Yakubu, OON, Yobe state, (North East). They were inaugurated by former President Goodluck E. Jonathan on 30th June 2010.
Four other National Commissioners will also leave the Commission in July and August this year. They are: Dr. Abdulkadir S. Oniyangi, OFR, Kwara state, (North Central), whose tenure will expire on 21st July 2015; Mrs Amina Bala Zakari, Jigawa state, (North West); whose tenure will also expire on 21st July 2015; Dr Chris O. Iyimoga, Nasarawa state, (North Central); whose tenure will expire on11th August 2015; and Amb. (Dr.) Mohammed Ahmad Wali, Sokoto state, (North West) whose tenure will also expire on 11th August 2015.
The tenure of 16 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) has also expired, following which they left the Commission last week.
Prof. Jega was appointed Chairman of INEC in June, 2010, by ex-president Goodluck Jonathan. Jonathan nominated Jega at the end of the National Council of State meeting in Aso Rock, Abuja.
Prof. Jega’s appointment followed the exit of former Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Maurice Iwu, who vacated the post on 28 April, 2010. Prof. Iwu organised the 2007 general elections labeled one of the worst in Nigeria’s electoral history. At the time of his appointment, Jega was the Vice Chancellor of Bayero University, BUK, Kano. He is from Kebbi State.
He came to limelight as President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, in the early 90s, when he led the academic union during the period of former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida. He was head of Political Science, Bayero University, Kano, before his appointment as Vice Chancellor of the university. His appointment as INEC boss came 4 months before the expiry of his term as VC.
Incidentally, Prof. Jega had served as member in the Uwais Electoral Reforms Committee established by late president, Umar Yar’Adua, to suggest reforms for the electoral body. INEC, at the end of the 2007 election, had become notorious for organizing doubtful elections.
As Jega bows out today, analysts have suggested that effort be made to build on his achievements while also correcting the lapses noticed during his term. According to them, this is how the electoral body can ultimately perfect its operations.