It will be a disservice if I resign – Jega

It will be a disservice if I resign – Jega

The Chairman of Independent
National Electoral Commission,
Attahiru Jega, has dismissed
speculations he was under pressure
to proceed on terminal leave ahead of
the forthcoming general elections, saying it will be a disservice if he resigns at this critical moment.
He stressed that he has a duty until April 11.

The speculation that the Peoples
Democratic Party-controlled Federal
Government intends to remove Mr.
Jega before the elections has
remained thick, owing to persistent
calls for the INEC boss’ sack by
individuals and groups rooting for the
re-election bid of President Goodluck
Jonathan.
Particularly, the campaign
organisation of Mr. Jonathan had
accused Mr. Jega and the leadership
of the opposition All Progressives
Congress of “grand conspiratorial
alliance” for “electioneering
manipulation”.

However, speaking Monday in
Abuja at a town hall meeting, Mr.
Jega said he was duty-bound to
conduct the March 28 and April 11
elections.
“I am not under any pressure to
resign,” Mr. Jega said. “The issue of
terminal leave is voluntary. Why will
I resign when I have a constitutional
duty? Until, April 11, I have a duty. I
think it is a disservice for anybody to
resign at a stage there is serious
assignment like the one I am doing.

“No sensible person, in my view,
will contemplate leaving when there
is a duty. I read about the pressure on
me to resign or that anybody want to
sack me on newspapers like
everybody. Nobody has told me to
proceed on terminal leave.
“Everybody in INEC is focussed on
the efforts to deliver the best
elections in the history of the
country.”

Also, the INEC boss reiterated the
readiness of the Commission to
deploy electronic card readers for the
elections, dismissing opposition to
the arrangement as “diversionary”
and a ploy to “move us backward.”

He said the postponement of the
elections provided INEC with the
opportunity to further demonstrate use of the card
readers.
He said lthe field-testing of the devices revealed
100 per cent success.
Mr. Jega admitted the relative newness of the
technology, but said INEC had done quality
assurance test which he said “certified the card
readers will work”.

He added that deployment of card readers for the
elections would add value and credibility to
Nigeria’s electoral process, as it guarantees
prevention of electoral fraud.

“If we don’t use card readers, we will lose
respect and credibility. We will be going back to
old ways when alteration of results were
possible,” he said.
On the distribution of permanent voter cards, he
said about 700,000 cards are yet to be delivered.

These cards, he said, belong to voters who
registered during the continuous voters’
registration which ended in December last year.

He however assured all the remaining cards will
be delivered and available for collection latest on
Saturday, barely 24 hours to deadline for
collection of the cards.
Further, he defended the deployment of the
military personnel for elections, saying soldiers
would not be at the polling units but would only
be on standby to assist when there is breakdown
of law and order which the police cannot control.

He said soldiers would only be called in for help
“on the invitation of the Inspector General of
Police”.
“The role of each of the security agencies is to
add value to the elections, but within the
constitutional framework of such agency,” he
said.

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