As the alleged plot by the presidency to sack Attahiru Jega,the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, thickens,the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, has warned that such move will be a ”recipe for disaster.”
Ango Abdullahi, spokesperson for the group, who stated this during a press conference on Friday, said “any attempt at this last minute by this government or its agency to
remove Jega is a clear message that this government is determined to rig an election in which they see Jega as an impediment simply because he thinks that the Commission must follow the rules for a free and fair and credible election and sacking Jega at this material time will be a recipe for disaster.”
He said the excuse given for postponement of the general elections, earlier scheduled for February 14 and 28, to March 28 and April 11, was “flimsy, clumsy and indefensible.”
Speaking against the background of security concern cited for the poll shift, Abdullahi said, “the NEF viewed it as unacceptable because only a small fraction of the security personnel in the country are directly engaged in the battle against insurgency within the
north east enclave of the country.
“We also know that even in countries such as Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan ,Sri Lanka and more recently Afghanistan where full scale wars were still raging, they decided that election could still be held and indeed were held.”
Stating further, he accused the “the ruling elite” of plot to scuttle the elections and ultimately Nigeria’s democracy.
Meanwhile, while responding to concerns that the electoral chief would soon be mandated to proceed on a terminal leave, Edem Duke, the supervising minister of Information, gave an uncertain response by saying Jega’s exit will follow a “natural course.”
Although he re-echoed President Goodluck Jonathan’s comments last two weeks that he had not informed anyone of any plans to sack the INEC boos, the minister added that this did not imply that when it is time for Mr. Jega “to naturally exit his office, then the natural course of things will not take place.”
He added that, “I think all of that is in the terrain of the Presidency and he has spoken. I have nothing to add to that.”
Duke also criticized the All Progressives Congress, APC, for fueling speculations about Jega’s removal. “I recall that for several weeks now, people kept threatening the President on the shift in the date of the poll. You begin to wonder that parties have a couple of extra weeks in order to reinvigorate their campaigns and try to reach as many voters as possible.
“Rather than do that, you begin to identify imaginary pockets of unlikely developments and then focus your attention on them and then when you lose election, you begin to complain.”
The APC members of the Nigerian Senate had on Thursday accused Jonathan of plotting to ask Jega to proceed on pre-retirement leave next week. They however promised to resist the alleged plot.Follow Us on Social Media