“Jega Will Go, Heavens Won’t Fall” – Fayose

Voter register
INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega

Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has described outbursts of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the possible removal of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega as “mere comedy”, stressing that the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, could sack him if he wishes.

The Governor in a statement on Wednesday, said the APC should stop acting as if Nigeria belongs to the party.

Fayose said: “By turning themselves to advocates and defenders of the INEC Chairman, the APC and its agents have shown that they have a deal with Jega to manipulate the elections and that deal will be frustrated if he is asked to leave office.”

He further stated that the removal of Jega and any other appointees of the Federal Government was a prerogative of the President, adding that no one can question the action, provided laid down rules are followed.

He said the position expressed by the House of Representatives was that of the APC members in the House, urging the APC lawmakers to rather “pay attention to the ill-health of their party’s presidential candidate, Major General Mohammadu Buhari (rtd), whose whereabouts is now a mystery”.

Fayose described Jega as partisan, noting that “by his actions and utterances, Jega had already demonstrated his bias in support of the APC.

“For instance, how can Jega explain the 80 per cent distribution of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) in Boko Haram ravaged Borno and Yobe States while less than 40 per cent were distributed in Lagos as at February 7, that the election was postponed?”

He stressed that it was on record that Professor Maurice Iwu was asked to proceed on a terminal leave two months to the end of his tenure, stating that Jega was a beneficiary of Iwu’s removal.

“If Iwu was asked to go on terminal leave before the expiration of his tenure for Jega to assume office, what difference does it make if the same was requested of the present INEC chairman?,” he questioned.

Governor Fayose further said it was the President that could determine whether or not Professor Jega would go on the mandatory 3 months terminal leave which ought to commence by March 8, stating that “if the President decides that the INEC chairman should go on terminal leave, what can the APC loudmouths do?

“Therefore, let me say it categorically that the noise being made by the APC and their agents will amount to nothing because if the President removes Jega today, heavens will not fall.”

Jega’s Leave: Why Remove Referee Before Game Ends?

Soni MonidafeAPC member, Soni Monidafe on Wednesday weighed in on the controversy surrounding INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega’s impending (rumoured) removal, noting that removing him would be tantamount to removing a football referee before the match is over.

The House of Representatives had on Tuesday warned against the removal of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the 2015 general elections, which may affect plans for the elections which have been postponed once.

In a meeting with members of the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, a coalition of Civil Society Organisations, the Speaker of the lower legislative chamber said “certain individuals are not in a free and fair process of elections in this country” asking the group to be vigilant against plans for another election postponement or interim government.

Supporting the warnings, a member of the Contact and Mobilisation Committee, Buhari Campaign Organisation, Soni Monidafe noted that INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega’s appointment was political and tenured and so he could not be sent on terminal leave.

He likened the current situation of the elections to a football match moderated by a referee, asking that “What is the essence of changing a referee in the middle of a game”?

“We are in a situation where this country is on tenterhooks. There’s tension all over the place”, he said, attributing the tension to the postponed elections, which he said was carried out by “false pretense”.

He warned that any attempt to remove Jega “would not be good for our democracy”.

Commenting on rumours that the Presidency was seeking to remove the INEC Chairman before the elections are held, Mr Monidafe recalled that such had happened before, mentioning former President of the Court of Appeal, Ayo Salami and former CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi, insisting that the people expected government to respect the rule of law.

“The case of Ayo Salami has a similar bearing to what we are seeing right now. People did not expect Ayo Salami to be eventually removed. It was done,” he said.

He disregarded the Presidency’s denial of planning to remove Jega, arguing that they had also denied planning a shift in the elections.

He noted that there were rumours Jega was to embark on his terminal leave on the 24th of March, four days to the election, adding that “what is so important about getting Jega to go on terminal leave that they will want to put this country in trouble”.