Buhari calls for Jega’s sack, accuses INEC of deep corruption
Nigeria’s former head of state Muhammadu Buhari, has called for the sack of the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Attahiru Jega, and other top officials of the commission, saying the electoral body, as presently constituted, cannot be trusted to deliver on credible elections.
Speaking in London at the 4th British-African Diaspora conference held at the British House of Parliament on the theme “Stable Democracy and Nigeria’s Economy,”, Mr. Buhari said sacking Mr. Jega and his lieutenants is a good starting point for fixing Nigeria’s broken electoral system.
“All the present indications are that INEC as it is presently constituted would be unable to deliver any meaningful elections in 2015,” the former head of state said. “INEC’s top echelon is immersed deep in corruption and only wholesale changes at the top could begin to cure its malaise.”
He said for future elections to be credible and hitch-free, government needs to do a clean sweep of the personnel at INEC, replacing them with Nigerians of unquestionable integrity.
“What is required is a group of independent minded people, patriotic, incorruptible but with the capacity to handle such a strenuous assignment of conducting elections in Nigeria. It is not difficult to find such people but whether the Government and the National Assembly have the inclination to do so I am not so sure.” Mr. Buhari added.
He accused the Jega-led INEC of having developed “a very cozy relationship with Executive and Judicial arms of government that its impartiality is totally lost”.
Mr. Buhari recalled that in the run-up to the last elections the electoral body “requested (and received with indecent haste) in excess of 80 billion naira (about £340m.) a hefty sum by any standards, so that it could conduct the elections including organizing bio-metric voters data specifically for the 2011 elections”.
He said that but when opposition parties “challenged the patently dishonest figures it announced and subpoenaed the bio-metric data in court, INEC refused to divulge them on the laughable excuse of “National Security”.