Protect your autonomy before 2023 polls, Jega tells INEC


Former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof
Attahiru Jega, has advised the commission to protect its independence
ahead of the 2023 elections.
He said this would prevent the reversal of the gains INEC has recorded
in the electoral process since 1999.
The ex-INEC chairman said the commission has administrative and
financial autonomy that is the envy of other electoral bodies in
Jega spoke yesterday in Abuja while delivering a keynote address at a
conference organised by the management of Tell magazine to mark 20
years of democracy in Nigeria.
The conference, which held at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, had the
theme: Democracy and the Rule of Law.
The Political Science professor regretted that for many reasons,
voters’ turnout during elections had been declining since 1999.
He warned that under no circumstance should the electoral umpire allow
some of the infractions that characterised this year’s general
elections to be repeated in the future.
In a paper titled: The Electoral Process in Nigeria: Safeguarding the
People’s Will for Democracy to Thrive, Jega said: “The challenge of
democratic development, for a country such as Nigeria, is how to avoid
a regression and reversal, and continuously bring about incremental
positive changes towards consolidation.
“Given Nigeria’s complex political dynamics and past history of
prolonged military rule, reversal is a strong possibility. How to
avoid it, indeed how to prevent it, and keep on moving decidedly on
the democratic trajectory, is a near herculean task.”

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