Attahiru Jega: Exit Of An Upright Electoral Umpire | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Attahiru Jega: Exit Of An Upright Electoral Umpire

Posted: Jul 9, 2015 at 4:18 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Professor Attahiru Jega’s tenure as the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) came to an end last week as the respected Professor of Political Science bowed out from the Commission last Wednesday at the expiration of his five year tenure. What a successful landing and an honorable way of calling it a quit?

Even though constitutionally Jega still has the opportunity to renew his tenure, as a man of honour that he is known for he prefers to bow out honourably having discharged his duty patriotically and in an obviously impartial manner. Jega’s tenure has come and gone though (just like those of his predecessors), his contribution to bettering our electoral process is not what could be easily forgotten and there is no doubt that he has written his name in gold as a courageous and impartial electoral umpire.

Indisputably Jega’s tenure witnessed unprecedented reforms in the annals of our electoral history. Though his tenure could not be said to be a perfect one, his was relatively better than what obtained in the past especially under our current democratic experiment. For he was able to record appreciable success in result delivery and bearing in mind that there is no perfect election anywhere in the world, his was a job well done.

Surely, for the former president Jonathan’s bid for second term – having been unsatisfied with six years in the saddle – coupled with his party’s inordinate ambition to rule the country for sixty years or more, there was no ruling out the probability of wanting to influence the result of the presidential election in its (PDP’s) favour had the electoral umpire been of pliable and corruptible nature. But because Jega would not sell his conscience for any amount then it became practically impossible to get him to do their bidding.

Professor Attahiru Jega has played his own role as INEC Chairman and he did play it well. No doubt his name will surely appear on the positive side of history. Unlike the era of his predecessor that was defined by electoral malfeasance in its worst form Jega left a legacy of how election should be conducted especially in an evolving democracy like ours. Nigerians cannot but be grateful to this good ambassador who restored our dignity as a nation amongst the comity of nations.

And by restoring our dignity I mean with Jega’s exemplary showing Nigeria was able to prove to the world again that she is capable of conducting a credible poll. Indisputably Jega has set a benchmark for conducting elections in our country. He has set a good foundation which his successor is expected to build upon. Thus whether the acting INEC chairman will be the one to succeed Jega or another person will be appointed they must not spoil Jega’s legacy.

Let it be made clear that the process of electoral reforms continues. It’s a continuous process. If we are to meet our collective aspiration of deepening our democracy then there’s no alternative to credible election. It’s only through credible elections that the votes of the electorate can count. More importantly credible elections will go a long way in curbing political corruption, which has for long been identified to be the mother of economic corruption.

Thus a fortiori let whosoever will take over from Jega not put our electoral vehicle on reverse gear. To reach democratic Eldorado we must continue to get it right electorally. Jega has shown a good example so let no one draw the hands of the clock backward again. As Jega goes back to the Ivory tower I wholeheartedly wish him well in his pursuit of service to humanity.