Subjecting INEC to TSA will cause disaster, says Jega
Former Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has cautioned that implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the Federal Government will be a recipe for disaster.
Jega spoke at the 2015 e-Nigeria International Conference and Exhibition organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in Abuja. The theme was ‘Towards an Effective Electoral Process in Nigeria: The Role of ICT Local Content and Information Security.”
According to him, the effectiveness of electoral processes is dependent on availability of financial resources to deliver efficient services consistent with international minimum benchmarks and global best practices.
“Electoral processes cannot be effective if an Electoral Management Boundary Delineation (EMB) is starved of funds and/or has to go cap in hand to an incumbent executive begging for funds before it can conduct an election. The financial autonomy of INEC needs to be strengthened.
“It should continue to be on first line charge and have all its funds released through the statutory transfer fund as appropriated by the National Assembly. Subjecting an electoral commission to the so-called single treasury account, I believe, is a recipe for disaster,” Jega said.
While stressing the importance of ICT to a country’s socio-economic development, Vice- President Yemi Osinbajo, in his remarks, said President Muhammadu Buhari would rely on it to address good governance, adding that no nation can develop its potentials without recourse to taping its IT resources.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr. Ade Ipaye, said arrangement was being made to empower the youth segment of the population through deployment of ICT infrastructure across the country.
The former INEC boss acknowledged that Nigeria had for long been in constant search for effective electoral processes, adding that the long history of badly or poorly conducted elections had, until recently, created profound skepticism among ordinary Nigerians about the utility of electoral democracy.
The relative success of 2011 and, especially, 2015 general elections, seems to have revived hope among Nigerians that with determined effort, their votes could indeed count.
“However, more efforts are required from all concerned to ensure that this hope is kept alive and that the renewed positive expectations and democratic aspiration of Nigerians are not ever again dashed,” he said.
In his welcome address, the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, said the annual conference has become a platform for creation of ICT awareness and development of appropriate framework for government to deliver on good governance.
He charged the agency to develop a concise framework for effective ICT deployment in Nigeria’s quest for sustainable national development.
The Director General of NITDA, Mr. Peter Jack, said Nigeria would get its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) boosted by 2020. He noted that with the ongoing deployment of ICT across ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), Nigerians would be better off because of the transparency that comes with the deployment.