Former President Goodluck Jonathan is advocating for Nigerian presidents to be stripped of power to single-handedly appoint commissioners and chairmen of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said his suggestion is in order to maintain the credibility and legitimacy of elections in the country.
He made the comment on Thursday, July 11 during the launch of Senator Femi Okurounmu’s memoir, ‘The Dream,’ which took place at the Afe Babalola Hall of the University of Lagos. Jonathan said the confidence of citizens in a country’s electoral process is very vital to the progress and development of any nation.
The former president also said even though he appointed INEC members during his tenure, Nigeria’s democratic process will never progress if the power to appoint members of the electoral body lies solely in the hand of the president.
His words: “How you constitute the electoral body, in this case, INEC, is critical. Different countries have different ways of setting up their electoral bodies.
“In Nigeria, we adopted the military style because when the military head of state wants to hand over to civilians, because they don’t see themselves as politicians, they are the ones that appoint all members of the electoral body.
“But now that politicians are heads of state, is it still proper for a powerful politician to be the person that will appoint all members of INEC? “No matter how you compose INEC, people will always raise issues. So, the best thing to do in order for citizens to have confidence in the electoral body is to move that responsibility or shift it a little.
“In Nigeria, the president single handedly appoints the INEC chairman and its members. I also did so. I am not talking about the current president, I am speaking in the interest of the country so that when our electoral laws are being amended, the procedure for constituting INEC should be reviewed.
“In constituting these bodies that will look into our election, it will be better to have a separate institution to do that, than for it to lie in the hands of one powerful individual.”
He also advised President Muhammadu Buhari to jettison political considerations and immediately implement recommendations of the 2014 National Conference “in order to take the country out of the woods.”