Written by Dapo Olufade
Outgoing chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, said that university vice-chancellors were appointed returning officers during the last general elections because they were people with track record of credibility.
Jega ,speaking with reporters on the sideline of a dinner organised in his honour by the Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU) in Abuja said :“We were looking for people with integrity; and we have no doubt that there are many people with integrity in the Nigerian university system.
“So, it is like a ready-made constituency to get the kind of people we needed for the job to be done.
“That is not to say that it is only in the universities you can find people of integrity.
“We know that anybody who has risen in the system to become a vice-chancellor will not for anything damage his or her reputation by pandering to the wishes of politicians.’’
He expressed his appreciation to the goodwill shown to him by members of the association, adding that he would continue to be a good ambassador of the Nigerian university system.
Jega said he was delighted to note that the vice-chancellors were pleased with the feat which they collectively achieved in the 2015 elections.
He, however, said that all staff of INEC contributed to the success of the elections as he alone could not take the glory.
The INEC chairman said he would proceed on leave and rest at the end of his tenure and return to the university to continue teaching, research and community service afterwards.
Earlier in his remarks, Prof. Joseph Ajienka, the Chairman of the association, commended Jega for rendering a service to his country creditably and with dignity.
He also hailed all the vice chancellors that “helped Jega in performing a national task that gave so much credibility to the last elections.”
“It will go a long way in telling the world that vice-chancellors are capable of serving their country,’’ Ajienka who is the Vice-Chancellor University of Port Harcourt, added.
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