Outgoing Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has praised President Goodluck Jonathan for the huge support the commission received before and during the 2015 elections and for ensuring the independence of the commission.
Jega spoke in Washington DC on Thursday at a one-day program hosted by the United States, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
He said: “INEC was probably the most independent of the commission in Nigeria’s history, largely because of some reform measures implemented after the Justice Muhammadu Uwais Electoral Reform Committee of 2008 and 2009”.
The Uwais committee was put in place by late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who, in a rare show of humility, admitted his 2007 election was fraught with irregularities.
Jega singled out President Jonathan as being responsible for the success recorded by the commission.
“Under the Jonathan administration, the financial autonomy of the commission was guaranteed, immediately the funds were appropriated by the National Assembly, it was released.
“In general we enjoyed greater financial autonomy; we enjoyed greater support on a non-partisan basis. We went to the government that we wanted PVC, we were given the go-ahead. After that was done, we went to them for card readers, we were given the permission and support.
“I thank the Jonathan administration for its support and for guaranteeing the independence of INEC.”
The card readers, which was stoutly resisted by the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party, was widely acclaimed to be the initiative that guaranteed the credible poll the country had in 2015.