Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, says the immediate past government of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan attempted to interfere with the 2015 elections.

Professor Jega claimed that Jonathan’s government tried to "interfere with the decision of INEC to use electronic card readers".

In an interview with Jamie Hitchen, a policy researcher at Africa Research Institute, Jega said the attempt was resisted by the body.

He, however, commended the former President, saying he meant well for "our democracy". According to the former INEC boss, Jonathan granted all the financial requests of INEC.

He said: "The administration of Goodluck Jonathan, president from 2010 to 2015, never gave any reason to suspect that there was a deliberate and wilful attempt to emasculate the funding of INEC.

"For this they should be applauded. No situation arose where we had to go cap-in-hand to the executive looking for funding and I must add that when supplementary funding was needed, it was nearly always forthcoming.

"For most of the time during our tenure, President Jonathan tried not to personally interfere with the Commission’s work.

"Only in the run-up to the 2015 election did his government and ruling political party seek to interfere with the decision of INEC to use electronic card readers.

Also Read: 2019 Elections: No Card Reader Will Malfunction - INEC

"We were able to remind them that they had supported the idea and funded it. Overall I think that President Jonathan meant well for democracy in our country, a view strengthened by the gracious way he conceded electoral defeat in 2015".

He said the experiences of the Anambra election of 2013 and Osun, Ekiti in 2014, helped the commission to prepare well for the 2015 general election.

Jonathan's administration may have envisaged that the card reader machine would malfunction.

On the day of the presidential election in Otuoke, Bayelsa, President Jonathan had found it surprising that his card was not read by the machine.

Several other states witnessed same malfunctioning of the card reader machine, but the INEC is promising again in 2017 that the card issues will not reoccur in 2019.

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