Nigeria Doesn’t Require a Professor in the INEC Chairman Role— Sowore

Nigeria Doesn't Require a Professor in the INEC Chairman Role— Sowore

Omoyele Sowore, the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (ACN) in Nigeria’s recent general elections and a pro-democracy advocate, has asserted that university professors should no longer be appointed as the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Speaking at a seminar organized by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) in Lagos, Sowore expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of professors in electoral roles, stating that they have failed to meet public expectations and uphold the integrity associated with their academic stature.

Sowore criticized the compromised state of Nigeria’s electoral process and judiciary, claiming that both institutions have been severely undermined, causing significant harm to the country. He argued that the appointment of professors as INEC Chairman is unnecessary, emphasizing that the constitution does not mandate the position exclusively for professors. According to Sowore, the key attributes for occupants of high electoral offices should be good character and integrity, traits that many professors have allegedly failed to demonstrate.

Furthermore, Sowore highlighted concerns about the politicization of the judiciary, asserting that corruption among Nigerian judges has led to a perversion of justice and a subversion of the people’s will. He expressed skepticism about the possibility of meaningful judicial or electoral reforms, citing previous unsuccessful attempts.

During the seminar, legal expert Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa focused on the politicization of election disputes in Nigeria’s courts, emphasizing the need for genuine reform in the judiciary. Adegboruwa suggested limiting post-election litigation to election results and advocated for the neutrality of INEC in election disputes, recommending specialized training for judges handling electoral litigation.

CISLAC’s Executive Director, Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani, underscored the seminar’s goal to shift the narrative surrounding Nigeria’s democracy and judiciary. Rafsanjani criticized the undemocratic actions of the political class, highlighting the threats posed by systemic challenges, including the commercialization of the electoral process and money politics. He called for comprehensive reforms to address these issues and restore trust in electoral integrity for the benefit of all Nigerians.


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