Report: Jonathan to ease out INEC boss, Jega

Attahiru Jega

INEC Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega

INEC Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega: may be removed
INEC Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega: may be removed

President Goodluck Jonathan’s next joker is to sack the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, with various reports indicating that the President will nominate his successor any time from now.

Being tipped to replace the 57 year old Professor of Political Science is the former vice-chancellor of Adekunle Ajasin University, Professor Nazim Olufemi Mimiko, brother of Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo state, a very close ally of President Jonathan.

Jega, former vice-chancellor of Bayero University became the INEC chairman on 10 June, 2010, two months after Professor Maurice Iwu was removed. His five year tenure therefore ends in June.

Reports said he may be asked to proceed on a three month terminal leave in March, before even holding the first in the two-part rescheduled election on 28 March.

The PUNCH newspaper said Jega’s traducers, especially some Peoples Democratic Party members, are already compiling what they described as his ‘sins’ to ensure that he proceeds on terminal leave before the March 28 and April 11 elections.

The newspaper said that the “sins,” include alleged transfer of some INEC officials considered close to them out of their departments where their input might not be useful in the conduct of the elections.

It was also gathered that the PDP members, who are close to the Presidency, feel that Jega is becoming unapproachable on issues.

Quoting a source in the Presidency, the newspaper reported that the reason the INEC boss gave for the postponement of the elections had negatively affected the credibility of the Presidency and the PDP.

He said, “The way Jega spoke at the press briefing where he announced the postponement of the polls, was meant to implicate the PDP and the Presidency.

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“This was why everybody, including foreign governments, have been blaming the leadership of the country for the postponement of the elections.

“The summary of Jega’s presentation was that INEC was ready but that the security agencies, whose headships are appointees of the President, frustrated the commission’s desire to hold the elections on February 14 and 28.”

According to the newspaper, even the military establishment was surprised that Jega solely pinned the polls shift on it.

“We were astonished to hear that we were not prepared and all that. How many officers do we have in the North-East? How many of our men were deployed for the last governorship election in Osun State? So there are things we have not been told about the elections,” the paper quoted a military source as saying.

However, some political parties under the aegis of the Coalition of Progressive Political Parties, have vowed to frustrate any attempt to stop Jega from conducting the elections.

They warned at a news conference in Abuja on Monday, that Jega’s removal would affect the credibility of the elections.

The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Movement, Bashir Ibrahim, who spoke for the group, said that though the INEC chairman played into the hands of the PDP by rescheduling the election dates, “we are going to resist the move to remove him from office.

Source: The PUNCH

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