Africa Initiative for Governance Announces Jega First Fellow


Obinna Chima

The newly launched Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG) monday announced the immediate Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, as its first Visiting Fellow of Practice at the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government.

A statement explained that 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 said it believes that the high-calibre individuals trained at the school would drive best practice standards of governance across Africa, ensuring sustainable economic growth and social justice.

Commenting on the announcement, the Founder and Chairman of the Africa Initiative for Governance, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, 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 “Jega clearly exhibits these qualities; as Executive Chairman of Nigeria’s INEC, he presided over the 2011 and 2015 general election that were characterised by openness and integrity. The successful outcome of Nigeria’s 2015 presidential election has elevated democratic standards in Africa to new heights.”

Jega obtained a B.Sc. in Political Science from the 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. He has also served in various capacities such as: Director Centre 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, democratisation, and transition to democracy.

On accepting the invitation from AIG, Jega stated: “It is an honour and a privilege to be the first AIG Visiting Fellow at BSG. 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 former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo–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 statement restated that 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.