All Progressives Congress (APC) senators on Thursday alleged that there was a fresh plot to sack the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega.
The APC senators, led by the Leader of the opposition at the Senate, Senator George Akume, at a media briefing in Abuja said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led Federal Government had concluded plans to send Jega on terminal leave next week in order to stop him from overseeing the rescheduled general elections.
His words: “We have received information from a very credible source that next week, the Chairman of INEC will be given a letter from the office of the Head of the Civil Service directing him to proceed on terminal leave.
“Whether the letter emanates from the HOS office or the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, it does not make sense. Even if we go by the terms of the civil service circular of the 11th of August, 2010, it is not applicable whatsoever to the INEC chairman.”
Akume stressed that the civil service rule which states that anyone who had spent 30 years in service or had attained 30 years of age is bound to disengage officially from the service does not in any way apply to the INEC chairman.
“We want a credible election but in a situation where we are being informed that because the postponement of the election attracted no reaction from the people, Jega could be removed and a person who will do the bidding of the government be planted, doesn’t hold water.”
“You cannot start a game which is about to end, and suddenly you want to change the goal post. You don’t want a referee that is fair to all so as to subvert the whole system for sinister or personal purposes.”
“We will continue to say no to impunity. We will continue to say no to any attempt to undermine the credibility of the forthcoming election.”
“We therefore want to appeal to Nigerians to be steadfast, to keep watch so that their labour will not be in vain. If Ghana and other countries got it right, Nigeria can also get it right.”
“We are opposed to the removal of Jega because it is criminal, illegal and unconstitutional. They want to remove him through the back door,” Akume stated.”
Maintaining that though President Goodluck Jonathan has the right to sack Jega, Akume said that cannot not be done without a two-third majority approval of the National Assembly, stressing that the President has no legal powers to unilaterally suspend the INEC chairman.