Guardian News – Houston, TX – Chairman of the Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Attahiru Jega is on his way out for reasons associated with a lackadaisical handle of the country’s 2015 general election practice. To make the situation worse, he failed to communicate appropriately, his group’s readiness to undertake the process, creating in a contemptuous manner, a puzzling situation that prompted a six-week postponement of polls, from February 14 to March 28.
In compliace with the civil service practice, Professor Jega will proceed to a three-month terminal leave with effect from March 1, 2015. Jega’s successor was nominated Monday, and would be formally confirmed and announced accordingly, International Guardian learnt. He is Nazim Olufemi Mimiko, a professor of Political Science and International Relation and a former Vice Chancellor of Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State.
Jega, it was gathered knew his days were numbered, especially after his flawed presentation at the National Council of States meeting where he declared INEC’s readiness to conduct the election with concrete claims that the distribution of the permanent voter cards (PVC) were effectively under implementation. In sheer contrast, Jega controverted his own accounts, admitting that as of February 5, his team was still grappling with thousands of voters yet to receive their PVCs.
Election postponement is not strange in the government as it falls within the constitutional framework. For instance, in September 2010, INEC requested a postponement of the polls citing the need for more time to overhaul the national electoral register. The election was finally postponed from January to April 2011 to enable also, a proper procurement of a new electronic voter registration software.
Almost four years later, however, it is believed that flip-flopping with issues related to voter-eligibility management by the INEC would have been due to inadequacy in basic supervision. The regime, it was gathered, was worried about the statistics of registered voters yet to receive their voting cards, even with all resources invested in INEC over the years. Most troublesome was figures of registered voters and number of cards already distributed. For instance, Jega in his own words admitted after the National Council of States meeting that, “as of 5th February 2015, the total number of PVCs collected was 45, 829, 808, representing 66.58% of the total number of registered voters.”
Jega’s advocacy for the continuance of the election as originally planned without consultation with the security chiefs also left a suspicious dent in his credibility. In 2011 election, thousands including poll workers and observers lost their lives in post-election violence. In the last two months, the Boko Haram terroristic threats and operations have increased drastically – discouraging participation in most northern regions. Guaranteeing the protection of personnel and materials, as well as voters in the elections must therefore be a collaboration of INEC and the security agencies. In fact, Jega admitted that he was concerned about the security of his ad hoc staff who constituted at least 600,000 young men and women, together with regular staff, voters, election observers as well as election materials acquired over the years. With all these complexities and lapses in communicating his process readiness, sources close to the regime believe that Jega’s replacement was a necessary option.
Professor Mimiko was born in Ondo State, Nigeria. He attended Ondo Aglican Grammer School in 1973 and St. Joseph's College from 1973 to 1977. He obtained a B.Sc. in Political Science, and M.Sc. in International Relations from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile Ife, Nigeria. He is an author of several books, including The Global village, The Korean Economic Phenomenon and Crises and Contradictions in Nigeria's Democratization (1986–1993).