President Goodluck is not planning to appoint a replacement for the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega. A Presidency official, who spoke with one of our correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday, said that since the tenure of the present government would end on May 29, there was no need for the President to “hurriedly appoint another INEC chairman.” The tenure of Jega, who has supervised two national elections, ends on June 30. He was appointed by President Jonathan in June 2010, to replace Prof. Maurice Iwu as the chairman of the commission.
The law establishing the commission stipulates that the “chairman and members of the commission shall each hold office for a period of five years and on such terms and conditions as may be specified in their letters of appointment.” Jega, who was a serving Vice Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano when he was appointed, supervised the 2011 general election, whose presidential election was won by President Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party.
He also organised the last Presidential election, which was won by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari(retd.). However, Jega was severely criticised by members of the ruling party because of his refusal to back down on the use of card reader and Permanent Voter Card for the 2015 polls.
Perhaps, because of the fierce criticism he received prior to the conduct of the 2015 general elections, Jega told the BBC Hausa Service in Abuja on April 1, that he would not accept a tenure renewal. Jega said during an interview with BBC Hausa Service:
“I am grateful to God. I was asked to come and contribute my own quota to national development and I have done my bit to the best of my ability. Whatever assignment one will do for five years – just like this difficult one, to me if one is able to successfully accomplish the task, someone else should be given the opportunity, because for me I am not interested and if I am requested to serve again, I will not do it, by God’s grace.”
A minister, who also spoke to one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity, said that it would not be appropriate for the President to appoint a substantive chairman when he would be leaving before the chairman of the electoral body.