News / Africa

Nigerian President Nominates New Electoral Chief

Multimedia

Audio
  • Joe De Capua debeiefer with reporter Chinedu Offor on reaction to new INEC chief

Nigeria's National Council of State has approved President Goodluck Jonathan's choice to oversee next year's elections.  The nominee to head Nigeria's electoral commission must now be approved by parliament.

President Jonathan has nominated political science professor Attahiru Jega to lead the electoral commission. He is  the vice chancellor of Bayero University in the northern city, Kano, and is a long-standing critic of military rule.

Edo State governor Adams Oshomhole told reporters that the National Council of State  unanimously approves President Jonathan's choice.

"We believe the president demonstrated courage and statesmanship in appointing someone who is not known to have any partisan political affiliation and a Nigerian who has distinguished himself in his present and past callings," he said.

If approved by parliament, Jega will replace Maurice Iwu, who President Jonathan dismissed in April.  Iwu is widely blamed for the conduct of 2007 elections that were marred by ballot-stuffing and voter intimidation.

That vote brought to power President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and then-vice-president Jonathan, who took power last month following President Yar'Adua's death.

President Jonathan has made electoral reform a priority of his new administration.  But there has been concern that legislation  before parliament would be meaningless without a strong head of the Independent National Electoral Commission, or INEC.

Oshomhole says the National Council of State was unanimous in its approval of both Jega and national electoral commissioners because they are men and women of integrity.

"When you recognize the controversy over whether or not the president should appoint INEC, the fact that we all accept that the president has exercised his powers quite judiciously in appointing someone who I believe most Nigerians will respect and appreciate. So that will be a major push on the electoral reform line," he said.

The National Council of State includes state governors, parliament leaders and former heads of state, including former military ruler and current opposition politician Muhammadu Buhari.

"A wide consultation was conducted and we have the CV's (resumes) of all those recommended.  And, I think they are worthy Nigerians of the positions approved for them," said Buhari," he said.

Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu says Jega is an excellent choice to lead the electoral commission.

"He is an outstanding, a courageous and, believe me, a trustworthy individual," he said. "Many people in here when his name was mentioned, many people were so happy.  It was a unanimous thing and one of the few things that I have noticed where a whole collection of the Counsel of State, and today all the former heads of state were around and everybody was happy with the choice because of the criteria and because of our desire to have an excellent, fair and acceptable election in Nigeria."

Aliyu says responsibility for the conduct of next year's vote rests with all Nigerians.

"Everybody is a culprit, include the radio people and the television people who announce wrong elections.  So this is a Nigerian thing.  We must all come together.  Where they people said our votes must count, they stayed and ensured that their votes were counted.  So it is an everybody's affair," he said.

President Jonathan must call elections by April.  Some of the reforms being considered by parliament could move that date up to the end of this year.

President Jonathan has not ruled out being a candidate.  That would violate an informal regional power-sharing deal between northern and southern politicians that stipulates that the next ruling-party nominee will be from northern Nigeria.

Reporter Chinedu Offor is on assignment in Nigeria.  From Owerri in Imo State in southeastern Nigeria, he spoke to VOA's Joe De Capua about reaction to the new INEC chief.  Cklick below to hear analysis.

You May Like

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures. For now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid