THE senator representing Kaduna Central at the Senate, Shehu Sani, has warned that the outcomes of the 2019 general elections are enough reasons why university lecturers should no longer agree to be election umpires in the country.
It may be recalled that Nigeria’s election umpires have mostly been drawn from the Ivory Tower, and because of the acrimony that often attends elections in the country, most critics have faulted the acceptance by university lecturers to superintend elections that may be deemed inconclusive or rigged.
A trip down memory lane shows that, between 1987 and 2019, no less than six university teachers in the professor cadre have served as chairmen of Nigeria’s electoral bodies. They include the following:
- Eme Awa (1987–1989)
- Humphrey Nwosu (1989–1993)
- Okon Uya (1993 – 19 November 1993)
- Maurice Iwu (2005–2010)
- Attahiru Jega (2010–June 2015)
- Mahmood Yakubu (2015–)
Prof. Eme Awa, a professor of Political Science at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, was chairman of the National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON), and was appointed by military President Ibrahim Babangida. He held office from 1987 to 1989, when he resigned due to a disagreement with Babangida.
Prof. Humphrey Nwosu, also a professor of Political Science at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, was chairman of NECON and was also appointed by Babangida, holding office from 1989 to 1993. He conducted the June 12, 1993 presidential elections presumed to be Nigeria’s freest and fairest, but annulled on the orders military dictator Babangida. Millionaire industrial mogul MKO Abiola was believed to have won the election. Nwosu released the results of the election on June 12, 20018 — a clear 15 years after the election that nearly divided Nigeria and 10 years after Abiola had died in controversial circumstances.
Prof. Okon Edet Uya was briefly chairman of the NECON, also appointed by Babangida after the presidential elections of June 12, 1993 had been annulled and his predecessor, Humphrey Nwosu, had been dismissed. A professor of History at the University of Calabar, Uya was appointed to conduct a new presidential poll after the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election.
Prof. Maurice Iwu is a professor of Pharmacognosy who was appointed chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission in June 2005, and was removed from office in April 2010.
His successor, Attahiru Jega, is a Nigerian academic and former Vice-Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano. On June 8, 2010, he was nominated by then President Goodluck Jonathan as the new chairman of INEC as a replacement for Prof. Iwu who vacated the post on April 28, 2010. Jega went on to oversee two Nigerian General Elections (2011 and 2015) and remains the only INEC chairman to do so so far.
The incumbent INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, is also an academic appointed to office by President Muhammadu Buhari on October 21, 2015. He is a lecturer, guerrilla warfare expert, and professor of Political History and International Studies at the Nigerian Defence Academy. He also served as the executive secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund. – Punch
– Apr. 19, 2019 @ 17:59 GMT |