Former INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, has urged the National Assembly to enhance the effectiveness of the electoral commission by unbundling it. Speaking at a Citizens Town Hall on Electoral Reform in Abuja, Jega emphasized the need to proscribe cross-carpeting or defection by politicians for an improved electoral process.
Jega acknowledged some transformations in INEC from 2011 to 2022 but emphasized the necessity to unbundle the commission for greater efficiency.
To prevent cross-carpeting, Jega proposed that politicians vacate their seats when defecting from one party to another, advocating for by-elections unless there is a crisis. He stressed the importance of screening nominees for INEC chairman and Resident Electoral Commissioners to ensure non-partisanship.
Jega recommended a review of the process for presidential candidates, suggesting a threshold for political parties fielding candidates. He submitted these recommendations to the National Assembly Committee.
Senate President Godswill Akpabio, represented by his Chief of Staff, Barr. Sylvester Okonkwo, expressed the National Assembly’s commitment to making INEC truly independent. Akpabio emphasized collaboration with stakeholders, including Yiaga Africa, to protect INEC’s independence and restore people’s trust in the electoral process.
Prof Jega is remembered for guiding about the freest elections in Nigeria since the 1999 elections that birthed the Fourth Republic.