Nigeria's man of the moment: INEC Chairman Attahiru Jega

Attahiru Jega, Chairman, Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)

Professor Attahiru Jega’s tenure as President of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) coincided with the military regime of Ibrahim Babangida, a period in which, according to one University professor quoted at the time, “practically all the factors that make a university autonomous have been interfered with by one decree or the other.”

It was left to the soft-spoken, unflappable Jega to stand up to Babangida’s ruinous vision for Nigeria’s Universities, a task he performed fearlessly – even though for much of the time he led ASUU, the organisation lay under a government proscription order.

Amid the turmoil, Jega managed to succeed in recording a significant achievement: the signing, in September 1992, of a landmark agreement with the Nigerian government that in theory guaranteed improved wages and working conditions for lecturers, and increased funding for Universities.

Read more: Nigeria's man of the moment | Columns.