President Goodluck Jonathan and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) may be planning to launch the final straw that will surely break the camel’s back in Nigeria. The Presidency is planning to remove Jega from office this week.
According to reports, there is about to be a “power change” at the topmost seat of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) within the next 48 hours. The strategy is to force Professor Attairu Jega, who was INEC chief in the 2011 general elections to embark on terminal leave to pave way for an already selected replacement who will be willing to “play ball”, according to reliable sources in the Presidency who preferred to be anonymous.
This plan is underway despite the President assuring Nigerians during the presidential media chat on February 11, that he had no plan to remove the INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega from office. It has been gathered that after a lot of searching, the replacement for Professor Jega has been named which will be INEC National Commissioner, Amina Bala Zakari.
According to our sources, the plot has been perfected to unfold automatically. Professor Jega will meet with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) tomorrow during which a “vote of no confidence” will be passed on him which will now hand the initiative to the Federal Government who will then declare him unfit to continue with the elections.
Once that is done, Mr. President will nominate a new chairman who will carry out the intentions of the PDP which is to disannul the use of the PVCs.
It will be recalled that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has raised alarm over the unfair distribution and collection of the PVCs across the country, stating that the north will be better advantaged in the elections if the PVCS are used. And INEC, through its boss, Professor Jega has publicly insisted on the use of both the PVCs and card readers. So with Jega out of the way, the floor will be opened for the PDP to rig the elections massively, the source added.
This action if carried out, will definitely not go down well with Nigerians and the opposition in particular but our source told us that the PDP and the Presidency was ready for any storm that would follow Jega’s removal.
“They believe that the APC, the press, the US and EU will make noise, but then everybody will calm down after some time. Many RECs are in the PDP’s pocket, but Professor Jega has refused even to pick up the phone calls of those representing the President. That’s why the decision has been reached to push him out of the way,” the source said.
According to Vanguard, The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room advises against the attempt to remove Prof. Attahiru Jega or any of the National Commissioners ahead of the elections or their tenure and warns that such could pose grave threat to the 2015 general elections and survival of democracy in Nigeria.
Situation Room is reluctantly making this call because of the persistent personalized political attacks that have been made on the Chairman of INEC over the past four weeks. These attacks fall far outside the bounds of fair exchanges and we call on all political stakeholders to show appropriate respect for the role of INEC, its independence, and the channels for appropriate discourse. The Situation Room also notes that the postponement of the presidential and general elections had cast doubts on the independence of the INEC and advices that actions taken towards the election should be targeted at building citizens confidence on the independence of INEC.
Situation Room believes that the persistence of rumors of the Chairman’s removal is damaging to the polity and public confidence that the entire national leadership of INEC is free from threat. There are other National Commissioners appointed at the same time as the Chairman and stories implying that the Chairman should proceed on terminal leave lead to an inevitable conclusion that INEC’s leadership faces a threat at a time when no hint of interference should even be implied.
What do you think will be the aftermath of Jega’s removal from office just one month to the elections? Is this another case of insensitivity by the FG?