Outgoing Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega has expressed his willingness to take up any appointment handed to him in the new administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to reports, Jega made the revelation on Saturday, June 20, 2015 while fielding questions from a cross section of select young leaders of thought at an event tagged “Afternoon Tea with Professor Attahiru Muhammadu Jega” held at Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The event, which was anchored by Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, was put together by EbonyLife TV, owned by media mogul, Mo’ Abudu.
When quizzed on his plans after his time at INEC expires, Jega said he would love to return to
lecturing but would take on any job assigned to him as he is willing to “serve the country until he stops breathing.”
When called upon to make an address, Jega said: “I am so thankful to the organisers of this event for this platform. I am very privileged to be called to serve the nation and I did that under strict circumstances. The challenges to keep doing good and living up to the expectations of Nigerians gave me sleepless nights.
“I believed that INEC should contribute to the reform process that has started. We have to do our best for the country. I am urging the young to be very optimistic to survive. They should try to engage themselves in positive development. I am also advising them to do the best they can no matter the circumstances.”
On the last election, Jega said:
“I will also like to commend INEC staff; they worked as a team; during the period of the election everybody was very accountable for hisher responsibility. We had a a lot of meeting during that election period and that actually helped us.”
“But I do not think that the staff were appreciated enough for what they did during the election period. Many people have complained about Zero pulling units. They were those units who because of one technical fault or the other their details were wiped off from the system and as result, they were asked to re-register, we do not intend to disqualify them.”
“We had serious challenge in the production of the PVCs because we do not have companies who can produce that. So we had to partner with some foreign companies. Electricity was also one of the major challenges we had during the election. Adequate time was not also for the registration and educating the staff.””
He also took time to dispel reports that he received death threats and then President Goodluck Jonathan had withdrawn his security aides when the election results’ collation was taking place. He also addressed the rumour peddled by the All Progressives Congress (APC) that he was asked to go on compulsory leave by Jonathan.
“All those stories were mere rumour, non of my security aides was withdrawn and nobody asked me to go on leave. It is inconsiderable for anybody to think of going on leave at that point in time when there was a lot of work to do. We were very prepared for everything during the election.””
He also availed that the result for about 90% of the polling units around the country were available and online at the INEC official website, adding that the report of the 2015 election would be ready by next week.
“We have done a lot to reform and strengthen INEC. Coming to the Local Government elections, I think adequate funds should be given to them to enable them run their affairs even in conducting their elections. Their autonomy should be strengthened.”
“I also want to use this opportunity to tell Nigerians that the report for the 2015 elections is in the making and should be out by next week. We have the draft already just to validate that.”