No plan to remove Jega – President Jonathan insist

No plan to remove Jega – President Jonathan insist

President Goodluck Jonathan has
reassured Nigerians and the
international community that he has
no plan to sack the Chairman of the
Independent National Electoral
Commission, Attahiru Jega, ahead of
Nigeria’s general elections slated for
March 28 and April 11.
Mr. Jonathan’s reassurance came
amid speculation that the Federal
Government, through the office of the
Head of Civil Service of the
Federation, is plotting to send Mr.
Jega on terminal leave before the
elections.
Mr. Jega’s tenure ends in June but
there are claims the administration
plans to send him on a three-month
pre-disengagement leave before the
election.
The speculation were fuelled by
allegations by the opposition All
Progressives Congress and the anti-
Jega posturing of the Peoples
Democratic Party as well as groups
and individuals rooting for Mr.
Jonathan.
Last Thursday, senators of the APC,
led by George Akume, said they had
reliable Intelligence that Mr. Jega
would be asked to proceed on pre-
retirement leave this week through a
letter that would emanate from the
office of the Head of Service of the
Federation.
But speaking on Monday in an
interview with Aljazeera, Jonathan dispelled the speculation.
The president said INEC is a
sensitive and important institution
and that removing its chairman
arbitrarily would spark public outcry.
“Except somebody is insinuating that
the Chairman has done something
wrong. You cannot change an officer,
except the person has done something
wrong,” Mr. Jonathan said in
response to a question on Mr. Jega.

He continued, “Government, whether
at the federal or state level, president
or governor, does not wake up and
change somebody, especially
somebody like the INEC Chairman,
except that person has done
something wrong.
“INEC is a very sensitive body. For
me to change INEC Chairman
Nigerians will ask questions. So, you
cannot wake up and change INEC
Chairman.”

He added that he had never discussed
with “any human being on earth about changing
INEC Chairman”.

While the PDP has alleged an unholy link between
the APC and the INEC boss, Mr. Jonathan’s
presidential campaign has outrighly accused
Jega of involvement in “grand conspiratorial
alliance” with the opposition party for
“electioneering permutations” and deliberately
skewed distribution of permanent voter cards
against states believed to be PDP strongholds.
Jega has strongly rejected the allegations.

Jonathan has in the past repeatedly committed
to free and fair polls, devoid of any form of
violence.
But his campaign has been especially critical of
INEC of late, accusing it of partisanship, and
opposing the use of card readers in the elections.

INEC plans to use the card readers to accredit
voters on election day to check multiple voting and voting by proxy

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