Nigeria learnt greatly from court decisions on elections Prof Jega

The former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Nigeira, Prof Attahiru Jega, has stated that one of the magic wands that engendered public confidence in the INEC was its readiness to review all court cases that went against it and its staff and decision to correct doings.

According to him where the INEC as a body was indicted on electoral infringements, it ensured that such violations did not re-occur and this he explained “built public confidence and also sent a strong signal to its staff that you do something wrong you will be held accountable.”

Prof Jega was speaking in Kumasi at the second in the series of lectures organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a public policy think tank.

The well attended lecture which formed part of celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the IEA was on the theme “Towards Free and Fair Elections in Africa: The Nigerian Experience”.

Prof Jega explained that electoral officers who could not be sacked, were forced to resign or penalized and made to stay off any functional position.

He mentioned that some of the useful lessons Ghana and for that matter Africa could gain from Nigeria was the resilience in formulating and implementing electoral reforms and that it was significant to keep on and keep up until it was gotten right, adding that “there is need to remain focused on what works no matter the intensity of opposition against it”.

He added that early and adequate funding and timely release of funds was also very important to successful elections.

“A legal regime, that allows for institutional as well as financial autonomy of an election management body is necessary,” Prof Jega said.

He called for a gradual introduction of appropriate technology backed by strong administrative and audit systems stressing that technology had to be adapted to local conditions and circumstances.

He said elections management bodies must be mindful of the changes but must focus on finding creative, innovative ways to address them, because it was significant to ensure that technology associate challenges did not overwhelmed or incapacitate an election management body.

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