Former INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega, has made revelations on how he was tempted to remain at INEC for a second term
Attahiru Jega has confessed that he could have stayed for the second term in office but he “resisted the temptation”.
According to The Cable, Jega, who left the commission on June 30, made the revelation while speaking at the London School of Economics on Tuesday, November 10.
The ex-chairman noted that if he wanted, he could have got a second term in office after the successful election, but decided to resist it in order to help the commission become a strong institution.
In his speech, Jega spoke about the challenges of the elections and how they were faced.
“I think the major challenge is the do-or-die mindset of our politicians; they think they have to win by hook or crook. They have to use money; if money doesn’t work, they have to use harassment and intimidation; if that doesn’t work, they can even kill. The commission was a step ahead of them in preparing for 2015 general election, but they can go back and regroup and come for how to undermine the card readers,” he said.
Commenting on his decision not to accept a second tenure, the former INEC boss said:
“I felt we had an opportunity, we did our best, trying to build an institution; let’s get that institution to work rather than just seeing it as if its only one man that can only do this job. In a country like Nigeria, there are up to one million Jegas or even better; it is just getting the opportunity.”
Describing himself as an incurable optimist, Jega stressed that he believes in positive change for Nigeria and deepening democracy in Africa. He called for everyone to use any opportunity to contribute to that positive development.
Speaking further, Jega said that he would not be running for political office; therefore, he decided to go back to the university.
“I have had my fair share of political pressure, it’s probably too early to be talking about some of these now. Maybe in a matter of time, you can read my book and see some of these, but there were pressures.
“Once we recognise that an electoral commission needs to impartial, non-partisan, and need to create a level playing field for all contestants, then we need to do all to provide that. That’s what I saw as my task,” he said.