The immediate past chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega has reasoned that granting autonomy to the INEC in funding and appointment of its chairman and commissioners are critical to the achievement of credible elections in the future.
He regretted that although the ex- Chief Justice of Nigeria Lawal Uwais-led electoral reform committee had recommended that the national electoral body should be given autonomy to appoint its chairman and commissioners, the call has not been heeded by the Executive arm of government.
He stated this in Kano on Monday while fielding questions from participants at a public lecture entitled: ‘Electoral Democracy and Integrity in Nigeria: Reflections on INEC’s Transformation 2011-2015’, organised by the Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Research and Training, Mambayya House.
Jega pointed out that notwithstanding the fact that Nigeria had achieved a lot when it comes to the conduct of elections, there was need for more reforms.
According to him, “Still the president nominates INEC’s chairman. It is important to legislate the appointment of the INEC chairman
“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.”
The academic however observed that the electoral umpire had attained relative autonomy in terms of funding as a result of the recommendations made by the Uwais-led committee, which he noted had legislative backing.
“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,” Jega said.