Why Politicians Should Be Blamed For The 2023 Elections Crisis – Jega

Former INEC Chairman, Jega Calls For Amendment Of Electoral Act 2022

by Victor Ndubuisi

Prof. Attahiru Jega, a former head of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has urged for changes to the Electoral Act of 2022.

Jega admitted that the current electoral system in Nigeria is the greatest it has ever been. He claimed that it still has to be improved upon in order to clear up any remaining misunderstandings and enhance and clarify some of its aspects.

Jega reportedly made this statement at a retreat for senators hosted by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, according to Anaedoonline.ng.

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Jega suggested in his contributions that the electronic transmission of results become required starting with the 2027 general elections.


He also proposed that the president should not be able to name the chairman and National Commissioners of INEC to ensure the commission’s impartiality.

Jega further suggested that the law be reviewed to make sure that all disputes resulting from the conduct of the elections are settled and decisions reached prior to the day of swearing-in.

Section 64 of the Electoral Act, which describes the procedure for transmitting election results, has drawn criticism from a number of stakeholders because it is open to manipulation and misunderstanding.

Jega, however, has advocated making the communication of election results mandatory in order to make the section more clear.

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This would entail submitting the results from the polling places as well as the result sheets made use of throughout the various levels of collation.

“INEC would have enough time to prepare for this if the Act is amended early enough in the ensuing electoral cycle,” he said.


Jega also suggested that early voting be implemented so that INEC employees, observers, and their drivers, as well as security officers and media, could cast their votes, or that special arrangements be made to allow them to cast their votes on election day, particularly for presidential elections.

In order to allow people to vote, particularly those performing vital services abroad, he also argued for diaspora voting, at least for presidential elections.

“There is a need to enhance inclusion of women, if necessary by up to 35% of elective positions in parliament, and in all political parties’ candidate lists,” Jega said.


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Jega argued that cross-running by elected officials should be prohibited not only for members of the National Assembly but also for elected executives, governors, and chairmen of LGAs. Once INEC has proof of the act of cross-running, it should be given the authority to prepare for elections to fill the vacancy.

Other Amendments advocated by the former INEC boss read: “There is a need to place stringent conditions for candidate withdrawal and replacement to prevent abuse. Empower INEC to also screen and if necessary, disqualify candidates whose credentials show that they are unqualified or in respect of whom it has evidence of forgery and other forms of criminality.


“There is a need for the legislation to allow even candidates outside the political parties, as well as tax-paying citizens, to file suits against candidates who provide false information to INEC regarding their candidature.

“Although Sections 132(8) & (9) have given timelines within which the Tribunals and courts of appellate jurisdiction should issue verdicts, there is need, particularly in respect of elected executive positions, to ensure that all cases are resolved and judgements made before the date of swearing-in.

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“Review the process of appointments into INEC, specifically to divest/minimize the involvement of the President in the appointment of Chairman and National Commissioners of INEC, in order to free the commission from the damaging negative perception of “he who pays the piper dictates the tune”.

“The Justice Uwais Committee recommended that the responsibility for advertising, screening, shortlisting and submission to the Council of State for recommendation to the Senate for confirmation hearings, for this category of officers, should be entrusted to the National Judicial Council (NJC).


“On second thought, and for obvious reasons, I will recommend a joint committee of the National Assembly be given this responsibility, with criteria, for transparency, non-partisanship and stakeholder engagement for the process. The applicants/nominees for these appointments should be subjected to public scrutiny with regard to knowledge, skills, good character and non-partisanship. Guidelines should be provided for submitting petitions against any nominee during this process.”


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