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Presidency Might Sack Jega Next Week

Presidency Might Sack Jega Next Week

All Progressives Congress (APC) senators yesterday raised the alarm about a plot to force Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega to go on terminal leave next week.

The caucus said that the plot to force Jega out of office before the rescheduled Match 28 presidential election is being orchestrated by some members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some other people in high places.

It said that those behind the scheme intended to carry out their plan next week by serving the INEC boss a letter from the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, directing him to proceed on terminal leave.

The opposition lawmakers categorically said that President Goodluck Jonathan lacked the power to remove Jega under any guise without the consent of the Senate.

The Minority Leader, Senator George Akume, who spoke on the alleged move to sack Jega at a news conference in Abuja warned that the plot would be resisted.

Akume, who described the plot as unwarranted, said: “We oppose the removal (of Jega) because it is criminal, illegal and unconstitutional.”

The Minority Leader underscored the fact that terminal leave is only applicable to core civil servants who run their civil service to retirement at 35 years of service or 60 years of age and not a definite tenure as in the case of Jega.

To buttress his point, Akume referred to an Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation’s memo dated 11th August, 2010, entitled “Re: Request for clarification on pre-retirement leave”, which states the categories of officers involved in pre-retirement leave.

Paragraph two of the four – paragraph memo stated: “I am to further inform you that paragraph 1 of the Circular clarified  that the content of the Circular is only applicable to core officers who run their Civil Service to retirement at thirty-five (35) years of service or sixty (6o) years of age and not for a definite tenure as is the case under reference.”

Akume said Jega’s removal, if he had done anything to warrant such action, could only be done with the consent of two-thirds majority vote of the Senate.

Akume said: “Last time we spoke to you about the use of card readers among other critical issues, which are very germane to the conduct of the 2015 elections.

“You will recall what we said that even a national daily made a comment on the use of card readers.

“The paper said in its editorial that only dishonest politicians fear the use of card readers.

“Today, we want to say that only dishonest politicians fear Jega as the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“Nigeria is long over due for a credible election. We said it before and we want to repeat: if smaller countries like Ghana could do this perfectly well, why can’t Nigeria do it.

“We oppose the removal because it is criminal, illegal and unconstitutional.

“We oppose this removal through the back door because government itself knows that if Jega goes wrong, you have to remove him by using the Senate to take him out, but you know you require two-third and that is what they are running away from.

“If you postpone elections and suddenly you say Jega should go, then Nigerians would have been deceived into taking it that elections were extended because there were no sufficient Permanent Voter Cards to enable everybody to vote.

“Even on the issue of PVCs, you observe that over 70million have been distributed. It is for all of us to also do our own civic responsibility by getting these PVCs.

“You don’t go and lay in your house and expect to collect the PVCs. It hasn’t got legs, so it cannot walk. It is not directed by a computer, so it will know and be able to locate where you live, but these things have been decentralised so that as many Nigerians as possible who are willing to take these cards and vote will do so.

“You also know that even those who have collected may not vote on that day for their personal reasons. But on a daily basis, Jega is being hammered.

“They say Jega is depriving over 10 million people of their right to vote. That is not true and we condemn what the government is trying to do and we want to appeal to all of you to rise up and defend our democracy.

“Honestly, we said it before; this is the road to Golgotha, road to Armageddon. This people want to destroy this country completely.

“Today this country is broke and it is not because of Jega. People who are responsible are there and they are friends of government. Nigerians want peace, not pieces. “

Senator Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central) said that the constitution is clear that Jega is not a civil servant.

His words: “How Jega was appointed is also clear. The Senate has to approve and the removal is going to follow same process and we are waiting. Any other means of removing Jega will be unconstitutional and will be rejected.”

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