The plot to sack the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, is gathering momentum. His tenure ends on June 30 but his traducers, especially some Peoples Democratic Party members, are already compiling what they described as his ‘sins’ to ensure that he proceeds on terminal leave before the March 28 and April 11 elections.
Findings on Monday revealed that the “sins,” include alleged transfer of some INEC officials considered close to them out of their departments where their input might not be useful in the conduct of the elections. It was also gathered that the PDP members, who are close to the Presidency, feel that Jega is becoming unapproachable on issues.
A source in the Presidency, who did not want his name in print, said that the reason the INEC boss gave for the postponement of the elections had negatively affected the credibility of the Presidency and the PDP. He said:
“The way Jega spoke at the press briefing where he announced the postponement of the polls, was meant to implicate the PDP and the Presidency.
“This was why everybody, including foreign governments, have been blaming the leadership of the country for the postponement of the elections.
“The summary of Jega’s presentation was that INEC was ready but that the security agencies, whose headships are appointees of the President, frustrated the commission’s desire to hold the elections on February 14 and 28.”
He added that some national leaders of the PDP would meet with President Goodluck Jonathan and members of his electioneering team this week to review the presidential campaign. The meeting, according to him, will also “discuss the wisdom in sending Jega on terminal leave any moment from now because of his perceived sins.” He added:
“Close friends of the President in the party and the stakeholders will meet to review the campaigns and I can tell you that the issue about Jega matter would certainly be discussed. We have received several reports on this matter and I can assure you that it would be looked into and a decision taken.”
Further investigations however showed that before the postponement of the elections, the military had directed its commands nationwide to prepare operational methodology for the exercise. A reliable military officer said they were surprised to hear Jega blame the poll postponement on the unpreparedness of the military. He said:
“We were astonished to hear that we were not prepared and all that. How many officers do we have in the North-East? How many of our men were deployed for the last governorship election in Osun State? So there are things we have not been told about the elections.”
However, some political parties under the aegis of the Coalition of Progressive Political Parties, have vowed to frustrate any attempt to stop Jega from conducting the elections. They warned at a news conference in Abuja on Monday, that Jega’s removal would affect the credibility of the elections.