9th June, 2010
Mixed reactions have trailed the appointment of Professor Attahiru Jega as the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Jega, who is the Vice Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano, was a former chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.
Reacting to his appointment, some Nigerians said he would do well while others felt that he would be an extension of the presidency, especially as the Electoral Reforms had been abandoned with the appointment of the new INEC boss. Constitutional lawyer, Prof. Itse Sagay said he could not vouch for the integrity of Jega now, saying that if it was the time when he was ASUU chairman, he could vouch for his integrity.
â€œI can only speak of Jega I knew 20 years ago as ASUU Chairman but since then, he had become a Vice Chancellor with the politics behind it.Â Since then, a lot of water has gone underground.Â Â We have to wait, watch and see what he is now,â€ he said.
Spokesperson, Save Nigeria Group, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said he believed that Jega would do well given his pedigree as former president of ASUU.
â€œWe believe that INEC, under him, is a body we can trust but we must not lower our guard.Â Â He and his team should ensure a credible register is in place and release the electoral guidelines on time and make election exciting once again,â€ he stated.
Former Chairman, National Conscience Party, NCP, and President, African Human Rights International, Comrade Afolabi Gbajumo said: â€œwe knew him as ASUU chairman then and has pedigree.Â Â The most unfortunate thing is that his appointment is subject to discourse instead of the electoral reforms we asked for. â€œSince it was Mr. President who appointed him, elections may be compromised.Â Â Uwais reports should have been followed.Â Â Electoral reform is the answer.â€
According to Chief Alfred Yesin, chairman, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, IBB, Movement in Nigeria, Jegaâ€™s appointment would not change the scenario as he was a close ally of the former INEC chairman.
He stated that people like Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, former Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, should have been appointed to head INEC.
On his part, Chief Olu Falae said Jega had a good record but that the National Assembly should have asked the president to submit names of two prospective candidates for the job, while the Assembly would then hold a public hearing for the public to nominate the right candidate to fill the vacant seat.
He said until that was done, nothing much would be achieved, but added that â€œhe will do well provided he is not subject to human pressure.â€
Former Kaduna State Governor, Alhaji Balarabe Musa stated that he did not know Jega very well but that with what he had heard about him, he is a man with good reputation and could be reliable.