INEC Chairmen in Nigeria From 1998 Till Date

Nuelson Penuel Saturday, October 21, 2023 Basis



The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Nigeria plays a crucial role in ensuring free, fair, and credible elections in the country. Throughout the years, several individuals have served as INEC Chairmen, overseeing electoral processes and contributing to the democratic development of Nigeria. In this blog post, we will explore the tenure of each INEC Chairman from 1998 till date, highlighting their achievements and challenges.

1. Justice Ephraim Akpata (1998 - 2000):

Justice Ephraim Akpata was the pioneer Chairman of INEC following the establishment of the commission in 1998. During his tenure, he laid the foundation for subsequent INEC Chairmen, ensuring that the commission carried out its responsibilities effectively. He faced challenges in organizing elections due to the transition from military to civilian rule but made significant efforts to promote credible elections.

2. Justice Abel Guobadia (2000 - 2005):

Appointed by President Olusegun Obasanjo, Justice Abel Guobadia led INEC during a critical period of Nigeria's democratic consolidation. His tenure witnessed the conduct of three general elections, including the 2003 elections, which were marred by controversies. Despite the challenges, Guobadia implemented reforms to enhance the credibility of the electoral process.

3. Professor Maurice Iwu (2005 - 2010):

Professor Maurice Iwu assumed leadership as the INEC Chairman during a time of heightened political tension. His tenure experienced mixed reviews, with some notable achievements, such as the introduction of electronic voter registration and the conduct of the 2007 general elections. However, the 2007 elections were marred by widespread irregularities, leading to criticism and legal battles.

4. Professor Attahiru Jega (2010 - 2015):

The appointment of Professor Attahiru Jega marked a turning point for INEC. Recognized for his integrity and credibility, Jega led a significant electoral reform process. His tenure oversaw credible and widely accepted general elections in 2011 and 2015. Jega introduced the Permanent Voter Card (PVC) system and ensured the use of card readers, enhancing the transparency of the voting process.

5. Amina Zakari (Acting Chairman - 2015):

Following Professor Jega's departure, Amina Zakari, a seasoned electoral administrator, took on the role as the Acting Chairman of INEC. She oversaw the conduct of various state and federal elections until a substantive chairman was appointed.

6. Mahmood Yakubu (2015 - present):

Professor Mahmood Yakubu assumed office as the Chairman of INEC amidst high expectations. Under his leadership, INEC introduced further reforms to improve the electoral process, such as the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise. Yakubu has been instrumental in conducting general, state, and local government elections, including the 2019 general elections, which witnessed improvements in the management of logistics and timely release of results.


The INEC Chairmen in Nigeria since 1998 have played pivotal roles in the growth and development of the country's electoral process. From Justice Ephraim Akpata, who laid the foundation, to Professor Attahiru Jega, who introduced significant reforms, each Chairman has made their mark. The current Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, continues to work towards enhancing the credibility and transparency of elections in Nigeria. As the nation progresses, it is crucial for subsequent INEC Chairmen to build upon the successes and address any challenges to ensure Nigeria's democratic processes are upheld.

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