Ex electoral commission chair in Nigeria becomes first AIG fellow

The Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG) has announced Professor Attahiru Muhammadu Jega as the first AIG Visiting Fellow of Practice at the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government.

The AIG entered into a partnership with the Blavatnik School based on the shared purpose of building good governance and public leadership in Africa. The AIG believes that the high-calibre individuals trained at the School will drive best practice standards of governance across Africa, ensuring sustainable economic growth and social justice.

Commenting on the announcement, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Founder and Chairman, Africa Initiative for Governance stated: “Our unanimous choice of Professor Jega is based on our award criteria which require AIG Fellows to demonstrate evidence of outstanding contribution to the public good, through exemplary leadership in public service.”

He further commented that “Professor Jega clearly exhibits these qualities; as Executive Chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), he presided over the 2011 and 2015 general elections that were characterized by openness and integrity. The successful outcome of Nigeria’s 2015 presidential elections has elevated democratic standards in Africa to new heights”. 

Professor Jega obtained a B.Sc. (Hon.) in Political Science from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria and an M.A. and PhD from Northwestern University, Illinois, USA. Prior to his work with INEC, he was the Vice-Chancellor of Bayero University Kano, Nigeria. He has also served in various capacities such as: Director Center for Democratic Research and Training (Bayero University); President, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU); Visiting Senior Research Fellow (Nigerian Institute of International Affairs); Swedish Institute Fellow at the Department of Political Science (University of Stockholm); Visiting Fellow at St. Peters College (University of Oxford) and Visiting Scholar (George Mason University) to name a few.

He is currently a Professor in the Department of Political Science, Bayero University, Kano and has published extensively on Nigerian politics, elections, democratization, and transition to democracy.

On accepting the invitation from AIG, Professor Attahiru Muhammadu Jega stated: “It is an honour and a privilege to be the first AIG Visiting Fellow at the Blavatnik School of Governance. I fully subscribe to your shared purpose of building good governance and public leadership in Africa and I believe that your partnership is a commendable initiative.” A panel of seven eminent advisors – chaired by His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo; former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria – provides strategic direction and leadership in the selection of AIG Scholars and Fellows, and fosters the long term sustainability of the AIG initiatives.

In a call to action issued jointly by the Advisors and the AIG Directors it was stated that: “We recognise that alone, we cannot achieve the scale of change that is required. We call for others to join us, as we seek partnerships that can exponentially increase the impact of the work that we are doing, and help us to achieve our mission.”

In addition to the Fellowship, the AIG has three other schemes: AIG scholarships for a Master of Public Policy (MPP) at the Blavatnik School of Governance; the AIG Index, an independent annual statistical assessment of public sector performance in Nigeria; and, AIG Public Sector Award for high performers in the public sector.