As Jega Bows Out

RECENTLY, Professor Attahiru Jega, the immediate past national chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), took a bow from the nation’s electoral body after successfully midwifing two general elections in 2011 and 2015. The exit followed the attainment of the mandatory 35 years of meritorious service to the nation and the inevitable retirement from public service.
There is no doubt that Professor Jega brought a lot of innovation to the electoral system, particularly the introduction of the card reader and the permanent voters cards.
He also brought in the intellectual dimension to the conduct of elections in Nigeria by engaging the services of eminent scholars, particularly university vice chancellors as well as National Youth Service Corp members.
This brought more commitment, dedication and patriotic zeal into the exercise and indeed accounted for the success recorded under his leadership.
Considering his giant strides as the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in particular and his catalogue of contributions to learning , research and teaching generally, Nigerians could not have accepted anything less from Jega.
We commend him for living up to expectations and leaving behind a template for generations yet unborn, with regard to the conduct of credible polls.
While wishing the erudite professor and ex-INEC boss success in his future endeavours, it is our hope that Jega would not only continue to render his services to his fatherland whenever called upon, but he should continue to maintain that strength of character, patriotism and dedication to duty which earned him the desired popularity.
The reforms and gains bequeathed by the Jega leadership will, however, turn out to be a storm in a tea cup, except his successor and indeed all Nigerians resolve to internalise the virtues left behind by him.
The onus is, therefore, on his successor, Amina Zakari, INEC staff, political parties and all stakeholders, including the electorate and security operatives, to insist on best practices as exemplified by him the Jega days.
Indeed, Jega has just presented a template which successive leadership of INEC will do well to improve upon and expand the frontiers of free and fair polls conduct in the country.
Anything short of this will be unacceptable.