27 Feb 2015

APC Senators allege plot to sack INEC Chairman Attahiru Jega

The war of attrition between the main political parties in the country waxed stronger Thursday when the All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus in the Senate alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led federal government has concluded plans to sack the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, next week.

The caucus, at a press conference addressed by its chairman and Senate Minority Leader, George Akume, said it had uncovered the plan by the Head of Service, Danladi Kifasi, to issue Jega a letter ordering him to proceed on terminal leave.

Akume, who was flanked by other members of the caucus, claimed that the planned removal of Jega was capable of disrupting the forthcoming general election, adding that only dishonest politicians would seek his removal at such a critical time like this.

The caucus said even though President Goodluck Jonathan has the constitutional powers to remove the INEC chairman, he should follow the laid down procedure for doing so, adding that he must secure the support of two-thirds majority of the Senate before Jega could be removed.
“We have received information from a very, very informed and credible source that next week, the chairman of INEC will be served a letter by the Office of the Head of Civil Service directing him to proceed on terminal leave.

“Whether the letter comes from the head of service or the Secretary to the Federal Government does not make sense. What we are saying is, even if you go by the terms of the head of the civil service of the 11th of August, 2010, with Reference No: HCSF/CMO/1772/T1/11, it is not applicable whatsoever to the chairman of INEC.

“This circular was talking about clarification on pre-retirement leave. Pre-retirement leave is applicable to tenured officers and career civil servants, which states that you are bound to disengage when you get to 35 years in service or when you get to 60 years of age.

“This provision is not applicable to Jega. Why would the federal government controlled by the PDP want to tamper with an arrangement that is so critical to this election.

“Jega was ready to conduct the pre-scheduled elections; the federal government controlled by the PDP was not ready,” Akume said.
Credit: Omololu Ogunmade/ThisDay

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