Nigeria Elections 2011: “Don’t Expect A Perfect Election,” Jega Warns

Attahiru Jega
By SaharaReporters, New York

The Chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega yesterday warned Nigerians not to expect a perfect election in 2011. Speaking as a member of the panel that discussed elections and political transparency in Nigeria at the 2010 Achebe Colloquium, Prof. Jega played down expectations.

“It is a formidable task,” he said, “But it is a doable task.”
He announced that his commission would use members of the National Youth Service Corps as well as senior level students of Nigerian universities as temporary staff.
“We have been inspired by the growing and overflowing positive feeling of Nigerians to get things right,” Prof. Jega said.
He acknowledged that INEC is aware that 2011 election is an important threshold for Nigeria. The former Vice Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano, promised Nigerians that INEC “will bring a remarkable and substantive improvement that will make Nigerians accept the credibility of the elections.”
In an earlier contribution, the Managing Director of the Guardian Newspaper, Mr. Emeka Izeze expressed confidence in Prof. Jega ability to do the work. But he also warned that it would take more than a good man to conduct a good election in Nigeria.
The veteran journalist said that the disposition of Nigerian politicians had remained the same and that the electorate had not shown that they cared. He decried Nigeria’s culture of preparing for nothing as if preparation didn’t matter.
“The pity is that good luck can carry you so far,” he said. “Good luck cannot conduct good election.”
In his remark, Prof. Richard Joseph of Northwestern University noted that if Brazil, India and Indonesia could conduct credible elections, Nigeria had no reason not to. Quoting Dele Olojede, Prof Joseph said that, “Nigeria is going down an escalator that is moving up.”
He feared that the forthcoming elections in Nigeria were already programmed and reprogrammed to fail.
“Should this coming election fail”, the political scientist warned, “the peace, unity and stability of Nigeria can be compromised.”
Ayo Obe, a Lagos based human rights lawyer, also expressed faith in Jega. But she listed urgent things INEC must do to get things right. She specifically asked that the voters’ register should be published online and for INEC to allow television cameras in the collation centers.
Like other panel members, Darren Kew of McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies at the University of Massachusetts called Jega’s appointment as INEC chairman a game changer.
The experienced Nigerian election observer warned about questionable INEC officials at the state and federal level. He mentioned Plateau State and Kano as potential flash points in the upcoming elections.  
“The Nigerian police is deeply compromised,” he said about the role of the police in Nigeria’s elections. “In past elections, we’ve seen  large numbers of fake police men. “You can identify them because they wear new uniforms.”
Professor Jega revealed that INEC would place the voters’ register online. “I’m determined not to fail,” he said. “I have to say that some people think that we are magicians but we are not.”
Prof. Mobalaji Aluko of Howard University asked the INEC Chairman what his plan B was if he could not meet certain requirements of the electoral laws.
“We have a plan B,” Jega answered, “but it is secret.”
“I know Jega before the election,” Prof Aluko confessed, “I hope I will be able to say that I know him after the election.”

28 comment(s)
Post a comment

uk dress

Simply put Jega, new voters register in Delta state, free & fair election in Delta state and the rest will be history. You fail, you will have set up the beginning of the end for Nigeria. Good or Bad, history will judge you.


the beat of the drum by jega is graduallly changing with the song? is that not it. i think jega should mind the kind of song and drums he beat at this time of the day.

its going to be the North versus the north.

Already Tinubu the leader of ACN, is alleging that Jonathan is planning to assassinate him. He also revealed that the president wants to force EFFC to go after him the same way OBJ, used Ribadu against his percieved enimies in the middle belt and the South South. Atiku is threathening fire and brim-stone should he not scale through the primaries. Buhari says he will not take his case to court this time around. What do u expect in that type of environment? Jonathan does not even understand what he is up against.He is clueless for now. Bakare and Tinubu are after him in the South West. Added to a situation where he has already stepped on the toes of OBJ concerning that Halliburton case. Ciroma has the entire Northern governors in his pocket as well as the governors in the South East. Within the last few weeks the North Central, most especially the Middle Belt has been distancing themselves from him. Following threats issued to them by the Atiku group. Even the South South, most of the governors there except Apkabio are up against Jona. Amaechi and Sylva have been secretly working for Atiku. The elections as far as I am concerned is a case of the North Versus the Northern presidential candidates on behalf of the errand boys in the South. The recent bombing ordered by Jonathan against his own people in theNiger Delta, has played into the hands of his detractors. They are using it against him very effectively in the region.

What should we expect Prof

Ok Prof, we shouldn't expect miracles. So what should we expect, the new trend in Africa? ZIMBABWE, KENYA or IVORY COAST. Pick your choice Prof

Jega is not amagician

There is nothing Jega can do about vote rigging in Nigeria because of the level of poverty in there. He cannot have his eyes and nose in all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria even with his officers on ground. The entire case concerning the forth coming election rest with Nigerians themselves. They are the ones who can protect their votes from being stolen by the money bags parading themselves as messiahs in the presidentail race between the North and the South..
And there is no presidential candidate who will not rig the elections no matter what. When u have free and fair election u cancel it then come back to stage another, then another. While the masses dont benefit from it.Wont they be tired and see it as a continuation of the same old process.
What do they get from waking up at midnight to go and cast their votes at the end of the day? Nothing just promises. Look at the candidates what have they been talking about apart from Buhari and Ribadu quest to fight corruption, corruption and corruption and expand normadic education.


In Nigeria we are not ready for tht now. Lets wait for another time.


In Nigeria we are not ready for tht now. Lets wait for another time.


I disagree with your opinion that the Voter's register is an internal document of the country. International observers are allowed to monitor the election, who stops CNN from focusing their camera on the Voter's Register displayed at the Polling Unit? What law stops Al Jazera of skye TV? There is nothing hidden in this information age, America Diplomatic cables are being exposed by Wikileaks, million of people are on facebook even in Nigeria, let INEC Display the register online. Before you will hack it, others have printed their polling units!

2011 elections

i wish that the INEC boss can learn from countries like Ghana, botswana and indonesia and as well as impending problems in Ivory Coast and Guinea to make sure that violence does not erupt after an election.Nigerians are expecting a lot from the seasoned and revered Professor.

The Prof, This is a golden

The Prof, This is a golden opportunity given to you for you to put INEC on the right track. Posterity will not forgive you if you can because you have no excuse to fail. Everything you demanded have been approved and given to you by the Nigerian Government.
Jega we expect nothing less than a perfect election.

No perfect election anywhere in the world..

Remember Bush versus Gore. That was in America. Having said that, Jega shouldn't play save. At least we are expecting at least credible election. We are not in a hurry..take your time Mr Jega. It's better to be late than to be a late...

@truth meter

Well I think I share in your comment. Ciroma is urging every Northerner he see in Kaduna to vote for Atiku first, then Ribadu finally Buhari but not for Jonathan. Where is the fairness that we have been talking about here. Can Jonathan also enjoin every Southerner not to vote for candidates from the North? Let us stop deceiving ourselves oooh. The election is just a waste of money and an exercise in futility without SNC. It will only end up in confusion and may be separation.

Jega must not display us to the world

I believe that Jega is educated and civilised enough to know that our names, addresses, etc in the voter’s register are private and national affairs. They are not for even the next polling station let alone for the whole Ward, Local, State and Federal Government areas, and the rest of the world. The list may only be available nationally for identity check in some matters but firmly secured.

Anything that is available in the internet is available to the world unrestricted. The best security these days cannot even deter the sophisticated hackers that are here and there. In this age of impersonation and identity theft, does Jega want the criminals at home and in the rest of the world to have our names, addresses, etc. to be misused and for each authority to be blaming and blackmailing us and our country?

The display of our particulars to the world through the internet will be unnecessary. This will be the most wrong and primitive thing to do. Even if it were necessary to do and whatever security there may be, less than 20% of the electorate has access to the internet. Jega should not make us insecure. He should not turn the voters’ register to making money where individual is asked to pay to verify his/her particulars.

Nigerian officials cannot be relating every official thing through the internet. The monetary cost of our privacy and security are never too much for the Government of the day. Jega should note. The cost of coping out and displaying the voter’s list at every polling station are part of the budget of the INEC. There are things that can be exposed to the general public. These do not include our names, address, etc.

a free and fair election ke!

A free and fair election between the North and the South ke? Nigerians should prepare themsleves for another Ivory Coast period.

What are we spending those

What are we spending those billions of naira for?

Let him resign

If Jega cannot give us a perfect election, let him resign now before it is too late. All we are saying is - We want a perfect election or a JJ Rawlings' take over. A word is enough for the wise.

INEC's reorganization should be now .

We woke up one time to read about the reorganization of INEC sometime in August but nothing is heard again. They are still sitting tight there with Jega. Our President should not relent in his candid promise of reorganization of this sensitive INEC to save us from another calamities. Jega alone cannot make a forest. Please Mr. President act now on this reform to build up people's confidence. We still believe that those people that put us to this international disgrace of 2007 are still sitting tight to do the havoc in 2011. We should not allow them again. Please act now Mr President.






Truth is Jega is not a

Truth is Jega is not a magician we agree, but very little things can ensure credible elections and reduce fraud.....Camera at Collation points> Fine but that gives room for manipulation. Jega must promise us that ballots will be counted and posted at each polling booth before taking it for collation. If we know the individual results, then no one can give us manipulated scores!!!

I hope Pro. Aluko will be

I hope Pro. Aluko will be proudly say "I know Jega " after the election

Nigeria Elections 2011:

Jega must give us a new voters register for the Delta State Re-run Election to be valid. This will be a pointer to what 2011 election will look like.

as the former Vice Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano

as the former Vice Chancellor of Bayero University-kano, he is aware that those who forged certificates that bears the university's name and are still in government are tracking him. is that the reason for the signals/verdict from the inec no1. that it is not going to be perfect because there is evident imperfection in the system already? some must have graduated since 1912 anyway, no record. some who have ND certifcates coupled with thorough home education in english language usage are also claiming to be graduates = imperfect system. no qualms, they should not go and burn down the files and the building ooooooooooooh. i dey laugh.
what people expect is excellent/A1 outcome. to whom much is given, much is expected!

Of course not!

Of course not, but i will definitely take a near perfect one. God save the Republic!

You are so right. He never

You are so right. He never said any such thing.

May God help you Jega

Till now Jega has been straight forward with issues of election and preparations, My prayers is May God give you the strength and the wisdom to do the right thing and make Prof Aluko say I am proud to know him after the election.” And by extention making Nigerians proud. God Help us to it right 2011.

hope this is not an

hope this is not an adumbration of what to expect in 2011


So what is the correlation of this alarming headline and the report itself....Na wa o. We will see where you will end up with your alarming reporting tendencies.

Jega, may history hold you in high esteem

Simply put Jega, new voters register in Delta state, free & fair election in Delta state and the rest will be history. You fail, you will have set up the beginning of the end for Nigeria. Good or Bad, history will judge you.

Post a comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
Comments are limited to a maximum of 1000 characters.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <p> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.