Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Jega's nomination as INEC Chairman followed approval by a meeting of the National Council of State called by President Jonathan and attended by former heads of state Yakubu Gowon, Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalami Abubakar, Ernest Shonekan, Olusegun Obasanjo and Shehu Shagari. The Senate President David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives Oladimeji Bankole, and most of the state Governors also attended the meeting. Unanimous approval by the council of the nominee for this critical appointment avoided controversy about whether or not the President should appointment the chairman of the INEC. Reactions to the announcement from a broad spectrum of political leaders and organizations were positive, although some voiced concern that it could be too late to implement real reforms before the 2011 elections.
Jega attended Sabon Gari Town Primary School, Jega between 1963 and 1969 and proceeded to Government Secondary School, Birnin Kebbi and then was admitted into The Ahmadu Bello University Zaria's Bayero University College, Kano in 1974, graduating in 1979 with a Second Class Upper Division B.Sc. degree in Political Science. He worked as a teaching assistant at Bayero University, then won a fellowship at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois in the United States (1981-1984) where he earned a PhD in Political Sciences. He returned to the Political Science Department in Bayero University in 1984 as a lecturer.
He was once appointed as visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos (March 1992 - March 1993), visiting Research Fellow, Department of Political Science, University of Stockholm, Sweden (1994), Deputy Vice-chancellor (Academic), Bayero University (1995 - 1996) and Director, Centre for Democratic Research and Training, Bayero University (2000 - 2004). Jega was also appointed Vice Chancellor of Bayero University in 2005.
Jega is the former President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and was a determined opponent of the Babangida military government in the early 1990s. Politically leaning towards the left, as ASUU President he was closely associated with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and continued that connection throughout his career. On 29 April 2010 he was guest lecturer for the NLC May Day celebration where he presented a paper on 50 Years of Nationhood: Challenges of Good Democratic Governance, Credible Election and the Working Class. He is widely seen as an astute intellectual with a strong sense of ethics and morality.
Jega was appointed a member of the Justice Mohammed Uwais Electoral Reform Committee, which submitted a report on 11 December 2008 with recommendations that included establishing commissions to deal with Electoral Offences, Constituency Delimitation and Political Parties Registration and Regulation. The committee also recommended proportional representation and that the INEC head should be appointed by the judiciary rather than the President.