Attahiru Jega

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Attahiru Muhammadu Jega
Attahiru Muhammadu Jega at Chatham House 2016.jpg
Jega speaking at Chatham House, March 2016
4th Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission
In office
8 June 2010 (Nominated) – 31 June 2015
Preceded by Maurice Iwu
Succeeded by Amina Zakari
Personal details
Born (1957-01-11) 11 January 1957 (age 61)
Jega, Kebbi State, Nigeria

Professor Attahiru Muhammadu Jega is a Nigerian academic and former Vice-Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano. On 8 June 2010 he was nominated by then President Goodluck Jonathan as the new Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), subject to Senate confirmation, as a replacement for Professor Maurice Iwu, who vacated the post on 28 April 2010.[1] Jega is the only INEC chairman to oversee two Nigerian General Elections (2011 and 2015). Jega retired on 30 June 2015 handing over his position to Amina Zakari according to a directive by President Muhammadu Buhari,[2] she served as the acting chairperson until a proper replacement was named

Early life and academic career[edit]

Jega was born on 11 January 1957 in Jega, Kebbi State. He attended Sabon Gari Town Primary School, Jega between 1963 and 1969 and proceeded to Government Secondary School, Birnin Kebbi and then was admitted into The Ahmadu Bello University Zaria's Bayero University College, Kano in 1974, graduating in 1979 with a Second Class Upper Division BSc degree in Political Science. He worked as a teaching assistant at Bayero University, then won a fellowship at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois in the United States (1981–1984) where he earned a PhD in Political Sciences. He returned to the Political Science Department in Bayero University in 1984 as a lecturer.[3]

Other appointments included visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos (March 1992 – March 1993), visiting Research Fellow, Department of Political Science, University of Stockholm, Sweden (1994), Deputy Vice-chancellor (Academic), Bayero University (1995–1996) and director, Centre for Democratic Research and Training, Bayero University (2000–2004). Jega was appointed Vice-Chancellor of Bayero University in 2005.[3] He is currently a member of the International Elections Advisory Council.

Political activity[edit]

Jega is a former President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and was an opponent of the Babangida military government in the early 1990s. Politically leaning towards the left, as ASUU President he was closely associated with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and continued that connection throughout his career. On 29 April 2010 he was guest lecturer for the NLC May Day celebration where he presented a paper on 50 Years of Nationhood: Challenges of Good Democratic Governance, Credible Election and the Working Class.[1][4] He is widely seen as an astute intellectual with a strong sense of ethics and morality.[5]

Jega was appointed a member of the Justice Mohammed Uwais Electoral Reform Committee, which submitted a report on 11 December 2008 with recommendations that included establishing commissions to deal with Electoral Offences, Constituency Delimitation and Political Parties Registration and Regulation. The committee also recommended proportional representation and that the INEC head should be appointed by the judiciary rather than the President.

On the 28 of March 2015, under his leadership, elections were conducted in what Nigerians and the World see as free, fair and credible which declared the APC Presidential candidate General Muhammadu Buhari as winner defeating the Incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.[6]

INEC nomination[edit]

Jega's nomination as INEC chairman followed approval by a meeting of the National Council of State called by President Jonathan and attended by former heads of state Yakubu Gowon, Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalami Abubakar, Ernest Shonekan, Olusegun Obasanjo and Shehu Shagari. The Senate President David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives Oladimeji Bankole, and most of the state Governors also attended the meeting. Unanimous approval by the council of the nominee for this critical appointment avoided controversy about whether or not the President should appoint the chairman of the INEC.[7] Reactions to the announcement from a broad spectrum of political leaders and organisations were positive, although some voiced concern that it could be too late to implement real reforms before the 2011 elections.[8]

During the campaigning for the 2015 Nigerian general election, Attiru Jega "faced fierce criticism from both the opposition and the ruling party."[9] Nonetheless, a 23 March 2015 article in Vanguard asserted that "most experts believe Jega will seek to declare an accurate result as quickly as possible, regardless of any political interference he may face."[9]


  1. ^ Mohammed S. Shehu (9 June 2010). "Attahiru Jega a Radical at INEC". Daily Trust. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  2. ^ Leadership Newspapers. "Jega Bows Out, Hand Over to Amina Zakari". Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  3. ^ a b EWACHE AJEFU (8 June 2010). "The Man Attahiru Jega". The Will. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  4. ^ Funmi Komolafe (9 June 2010). "Attahiru Jega, the New INEC Chairman". Vanguard. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  5. ^ Iyobosa Uwugiaren (5 June 2010). "INEC Chairmanship – Jonathan Picks Jega". Leadership. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  6. ^ Daniel Idonor (12 December 2008). "Electoral Reform – UWAIS Panel Recommends Independent Candidates". Daily Champion. Retrieved 10 June 2010. 
  7. ^ Daniel Idonor (9 June 2010). "Attahiru Jega is New INEC Boss". Vanguard. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  8. ^ "Cautious Optimism Trail Jega's Appointment". Vanguard. 10 June 2010. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "Nigeria: Five Key Figures to Watch in Nigeria Election". Vanguard. 2015-03-23. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 


  • Attahiru Jega, ed. (2000). Identity transformation and identity politics under structural adjustment in Nigeria. Nordic Africa Institute. p. 235. ISBN 91-7106-456-7. 
  • Attahiru Jega & Haruna Wakili (2002). The poverty eradication programme in Nigeria: problems and prospects. Centre for Democratic Research and Training, Mambayya House, Bayero University. p. 191. ISBN 978-2035-27-0. 
  • Attahiru Jega; Haruna Wakili; Mustapha Ahmad (2002). selected papers of the National Conference on "Democracy and democratisation in Nigeria: an Assessment of the Period 1999 to 2001,". Centre for Democratic Research and Training, Mambayya House. p. 218. ISBN 978-2035-86-6. 
  • Attahiru Jega (2007). Democracy, good governance and development in Nigeria: critical essays. Spectrum Books Limited. p. 326. ISBN 978-029-784-7.