Why Jonathan cannot fire Jega

INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega Photo Credit:234NEXT

Amid speculations of plots by the Presidency to remove the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, from office, it has been established that the president has no powers to do so.

According to the 1999 Constitution (amended), the president can only remove the INEC Chairman on the strength of an advice from the Senate.

Mr. Jega, a former vice chancellor of Bayero University, Kano, who was appointed in June 2009, completes his five year tenure on June 30 this year.

However, there are reports that the presidency is already shopping for a replacement for the embattled INEC chairman over allegations that he has been compromised.

The presidency and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are believed to be uncomfortable with the INEC chairman and have allegedly vowed to remove him before the March 28 and April 11 dates for the general elections.

Mr. Jega had last Saturday announced the shift of the polls from February 14 and 28 citing security challenges in the north east. He also said the military had told the Commission it would not be available to provide security on the Election Day.

Last week, some southern elders under the aegis of Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly, led by a former Federal Commissioner for Information, Edwin Clark, demanded Mr. Jega’s sack and arrest.

The elders, who are rooting for the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan, alleged that INEC was favouring the North in the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards.

However, should Mr. Jonathan succumb to pressure to remove Mr. Jega, he cannot do so unilaterally. In accordance with the Constitution, the president will have to rely on the nod of the two-third members of the Senate, the nation’s highest law-making body, which is currently on break.

Section 157 (1) states that “Subject to the provision of subsection (3) of this Removal section, a person holding any of the offices to which this section applies may only be removed from that office by the president acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate praying that he be so removed for inability to discharge the functions of the office (whether arising from infirmity of mind or body or any other cause) or for misconduct.”

Subsection 2 states “This section applies to the office of the chairman and member of the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Federal Civil Service Commission, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the National Judicial Council, the Federal Judicial Service Commission, the Federal Character Commission, the Nigeria Police Force, the National Population Commission, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the Police Service Commission.”

Although none of the nation’s law gives the president powers to ask the INEC chairman to proceed on retirement leave, he could however want to rely on Part D Section 171, under Public Service Rules of the Federation, to move against Mr. Jega.

Section 171 (1) states, “….Power to appoint persons to hold or act in the office to which this section applies and to remove persons so appointed from any such office shall vest in the President.

Subsection 2 listed such officers to include the secretary to the government of the federation, ambassadors and high commissioners, permanent secretaries or head of any extra ministerial department of the government of the federation however designated.

Appointment

In appointing an INEC chairman, the president consults the Council of State but the appointment will be subject to the confirmation of the Senate.

Section 153 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (amended) listed 14 bodies, including the INEC to be established by the Federal Government.

According to Section 154 “Except in the case of ex officio members or where other provisions are made in the Constitution, the Chairman and members of any of the bodies to the provisions of the Constitution, be appointed by the President and the appointment shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate.”

Section 154 (3) says “In exercising the powers to appoint a person as Chairman or member of the Independent National Electoral Commission, National Judicial Council, the Federal Judicial Service Commission or the National Population Commission, the President shall consult the Council of State.”

Precedence

As he did in the case of the immediate past Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, the president might ignore the laws to oust Mr. Jega.

On February 20, 2014, the president, via a statement by his media aide, Reuben Abati, accused the former CBN Governor, who was on an assignment outside the country of “Various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct which are inconsistent with the administration’s vision of a Central Bank propelled by the core values of focused economic management, prudence, transparency and financial disciple”.

The statement also said the president was “deeply concerned about far reaching irregularities under Mallam Sanusi’s watch which have distracted the Central Bank away from the pursuit and achievement of its statutory mandate.”

Before his suspension, which was to allow the Financial Regulatory Council, FRC, to conclude investigations on the allegations, Mr. Sanusi had alleged at a Senate public hearing that the sum of $20 million was missing from the Federation Account.

But the action of the president raised questions as to whether he had the power under the nation’s laws to suspend the CBN chief.

In a media chat few days later, Mr. Jonathan said he had full powers to suspend the CBN Governor because of his oversight functions he exercises over the bank.

“Yes, I have absolute power. The CBN is not well defined in the Nigerian Constitution,” he said while responding to a question by the panel of journalists.

Though under the CBN Act, 2007, the president cannot suspend the CBN Governor, it however provides that he has powers to remove a CBN Governor subject to the approval of two-third majority of the Senate.

The Act states that the Governor, Deputy Governor or Director of CBN shall cease to hold office if he “is removed by the President Provided that the removal of the Governor shall be supported by two-third majority of the Senate praying that he be so removed.”


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  • Mark Nsikan

    since when did we start obeying laws in nigeria?

  • Few days ago, I read five articles on why elections cannot be shifted. King Nebu can do just anything, nothing will ever surprise me in Nigeria.

  • Okey

    It is obvious Obasanjo is actively leading a camp that hold the view: if not Buhari, let the country be burned down to ashes. But I will keep on warning my generation thus:

    And let me warn my generation again: A generation caused crisis and civil war when they were young and that their thoughtless act cost this nation over three (3) million lives lost to the civil war that that generation caused. Members of that generation are now very old; some of them still do not realize the need to leave our generation alone run our own affairs; they and their civilian allies still want to drag us along to their graves. It is our patriotic duty to resist them from throwing our dear country into another chaos and civil war. They have spent their time. They should allow us enjoy and spend our own in peace.

    • Ken

      You are correct! If jega is found wanting, he shall be removed.

      • Ha

        What of Jonathan that has consistently and unfailingly been found wanting?

    • Benny born

      Wisely spoken.

    • Emeka

      What was Iwu’s offence and what is Jega’s offence? When you can answer that question, then you can ask us what the fuss is all about.

      • Okey

        Iwu committed no single offence: he conducted an election where, as expected, some were victorious, others were not; and, Some were happy, others were not. Jega committed same “offence” in 2011. Otherwise, 2000 citizens including 12 Youth Corpers would not have lost their precious lives in the hands of those who were not happy in 2011.

        • Emeka

          Iwu committed no offence, jega committed same offence. Lol. Sorry, i dont have time for silly chit chat

          • Okey

            One Nation, Two Moralities !

  • Eze1

    “Yes, I have absolute power. The CBN is not well defined in the Nigerian Constitution,” A quote from King Nebu. Anything can happen as the Mr Clueless is very desperate.

  • Akpos

    President Jonathan claims to have absolute power to do anything except to find the over 220 innocent citizens abducted on his watch. Absolute power to the treasury and mediocrity, nothing else.

  • Zubairu Usman

    Days and nights are obedient servants of the Almighty Creator, and if a human being is too busy adjusting the decree of the Creator, he might as well try and manufacture death proof gadget to avoid death when it comes as a necessary end.

  • Maitama Tambari

    Yes, Mr. President, CBN is not well defined in the Constitution, but INEC is properly defined in the Constitution. One cannot equate the Constitution with Public Service Rules. The Constitution is by far superior to Public Service Rules guiding, protecting and punishing the behavior of Public Servants. However Sanusi, CBN Governor’s case is by far different from Jega, Chairman INEC. Prof. Jega is on tenure expiration while Sanusi was on his accusation against Government and Government taking revenge on spurious accusation using Accounting Standard Board, to indict the CBN Governor to suspend him. The Constitutional provision should suffice and protect Prof. Jega, the Commission and Nigerians, though we are living in a strange era in the history of Nigeria. CHANGE! YES WE CAN.

    • Benny born

      When Jega bounced please come out and demonstrate, Tanks filled with godo-godo are waiting for you all. I’m sure those godo-godo will CHANGE your face. Olodo.

  • Benny born

    When Jega bounced please come out and demonstrate, Tanks filled with godo-godo are waiting for you all. I’m sure those godo-godo will CHANGE your face.

  • tayo

    rubbish………..meanwhile are u seeking for a genuine investment that will change your financial status? here is INVEST AND ENLARGE (WEALTHZONE) , an investment company located in Kano, Nigeria where you invest and get a monthly interest according to the amount you invest, I just received by 5th interest payment which has totally convinced me that its no joke..you can partake of it irrespective of where you are, you also get a referral bonus interest the more people you refer and which is my aim of this advert, if you are interested you TEXT your EMAIL ADDRESS to this line 08021341784 (Online customer care line) and they will get back to you with details, please do not forget to tell them I, Mr Tayo Oluwaseyi referred you, thanks!,

  • poky

    Stop this Jonny can not fire Jega nonsense. Have u guys forgotten the Sanusigate. Also Jonny needs is just to dust-out the file and to carry out a Sanusi on Jega and shikena.

  • GEJ FOREVER

    WHAT IS JEGA WAITING FOR ?

    Jega should have been removed long ago when he went ahead to register APC despite matters in court and despite the fact that the APC National Executive configuration lacked balance and federal character as stipulated in the constitution.

    Jega followed this anomaly up by engineering the complete Northernisation of INEC contrary to constitutional stipulation of balance and federal character.

    The last straw was Jega’s acceptance of Buhari’s INEC form despite the fact that he did not attach his forged non-existent WASC.

    Sleeping Jonathan must take the blame for allowing Jega go this far ……. I hope Jonathan has woken up ?

  • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

    If the INEC boss is found to take actions which puts the integrity of his office in question or such actions which renders his neutrality suspect and detrimental to the electoral process and democratic process in general then the President reserves the right to suspend him or send him on leave while the matter is sent to the legislature for further action.

    Jega’s antics of distributing PVCs in the north and ignoring the entire south is tantamount to sabotage,he should resign or get sacked,he has taken sides with his fellow Fulani clansman Buhari !!

  • sani

    Yes, Mr. President, CBN is not well defined in the Constitution, but INEC is properly defined in the Constitution. One cannot equate the Constitution with Public Service Rules. The Constitution is by far superior to Public Service Rules guiding, protecting and punishing the behavior of Public Servants. However Sanusi, CBN Governor’s case is by far different from Jega, Chairman INEC. Prof. Jega is on tenure expiration while Sanusi was on his accusation against Government and Government taking revenge on spurious accusation using Accounting Standard Board, to indict the CBN Governor to suspend him. The Constitutional provision should suffice and protect Prof. Jega, the Commission and Nigerians, though we are living in a strange era in the history of Nigeria. #Gej4naija

  • Bayo Ola

    There is an urgent need by Nigerians (and any non-Nigerians that
    share faith in the principle of social justice) to be proactive and protect
    Nigeria democracy, as well as protect the most populous black nation in the world, from
    this rampaging Ijaw drunkard. Such protection will mitigate the problem of refugee problem
    in West Africa in the event this drunkard goes for the broke against the people. International
    community knows that prevention is cheaper and much cheaper than a cure. It
    must ensure that Goodluck Jonathan is proactively tamed before he throws the
    whole West Africa region into turmoil. In the most likely event that he (President
    Jonathan) sabotaged, or attempts to sabotage the wish of the Nigerian people to
    freely elect their leaders, as guarantee by the constitution of Nigeria, we the
    people, in collaboration with the international community, should hold him and
    his coteries of friends accountable to civilised standards. Apart from his
    eventual prosecution at the ICC for his crime against Nigerians and other egregious
    crimes against humanity, his lieutenants and foot soldiers could be proactively
    tamed. We are suggesting that Nigerians compile the names of president Jonathan
    associates who should be targeted by the International community. These names
    could be sent to the global community for appropriate pre-emptive sanctions
    against them. These include freezing of their illegal bank accounts globally;
    deporting their children and spouses from any Western countries back to
    Nigeria, so they could also face the wrath of the people, and be part of the
    mess they created in their home country. The International community may also
    invalidate citizenship of most of them that have dual citizenships, so as to
    make their deportation easy. Their assets, such as homes and exotic vehicles
    and other ill-gotten wealth must be seized, disposed of, and the proceeds of
    this illicit wealth be returned to the country, when things become normal there.
    This approach remains the best way to fight these hoodlums that have violated Nigeria constitution. Modern warfare is not fought, in most cases, with booths on the
    ground. The United States did not fire a shot before she and her coalition economically brought
    down the much more powerful, and a better strategist like Putin. Thus, it should not
    take more than two weeks to break Jonathan’s spirit and that of his group of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. With the strong alliance across the globe, these hoodlums,
    who cannot even produce the food they eat or the clothes they wear, will be
    tamed within the shortest possible time. It is important to tame them before they plunge the whole West
    Africa region into a mess. The international community must know that cleaning
    the mess Jonathan might create will be more difficult and more expensive than proactively avoiding
    the mess. Apart from Goodluck Jonathan and Sambo, other names of President
    Goodluck Jonathan associates that must be on this list are: Diezani K.
    Alison-Madueke; Edwin Clark, Asari Dokubo, Femi Okunronmu, David Mark, Ahmed Tinubu, majority of PDP leaders, Ngosi Iweala, etc.
    Add your suggested names to the list and share with us!

  • IS.JESUS.CHRIST.A.CHRISTIAN

    JONATHAN IS DESPERATE AND CAN EASILY BREAK THE LAW.

    • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

      Keep quiet and go back to the forest !!

      • Guguru

        Be quiet

      • IS.JESUS.CHRIST.A.CHRISTIAN

        WE ARE HAPPY AND DELIGHTED TODAY. THE TRAP SET UP FOR GOODLOCK JONOTHING HAS YIELDED THE EXPECTED RESULTS. IT IS VISIBLE AND CONSIDERABLY CONFIRMED THAT POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL AWARENESS OF SOUTHERN NIGERIAN PEOPLE IS NOT RIPE TO BE TRUSTED THE LEADERSHIP OF NIGERIA. JONATHAN’S INABILITY TO LEAD NIGERIA PROPERLY MAKES IT IMPERATIVE THAT THE BORN-TO-RULE NORTHERN NIGERIA HAUS/FULANI MUSLIMS WERE ON THE RIGHT TRACK TO CONTINUE THEIR ANCESTRAL DUTY OF LEADERSHIP. WE HAVE SEEN HOW SANUSI LAMIDO SANUSI THE THEN CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR HOW HE GOVERNED CENTRAL BANK MAINTAIN THE NAIRA RATE, FIXED AND REGULATE BANKS TRANSACTIONS TO THE OPTIMAL EXELLENCE, COMPARE THIS TO WHAT HAPPENS NOW AT THE CBN. NAIRA FROM 150 TO OVER 215 NAIRA AND IT CONTINUES TO DWINDLE. THE ECONOMY, OKONJA SAID “LARGEST ECONOMY IN AFRICA” BUT WE CONTINUE TO INDUCE MORE LOAN INTO THE ECONOMY AND BASIC AMENITIES LOST NO WHERE TO BE FOUND BY NIGERIANS THROUGH GOVERNMENT. YOU CANNOT TRUST HUMAN BEINGS TO A PERSON WHO WAS ORIENTED ON MANAGING ANIMALS IN A ZOO. GOODLOCK JONOTHING’S CHARACTER EVEN IF IT WERE IN A ZOO ANIMALS MUST HAVE GET THE RID OF HIM BY NOW.

        • tyson

          LAGOS STATE –IS UNDER THE CONTROL OF AN APC LED GOVERNMENT———-YET HAS A DEBT PROFILE OF MORE THAN 600B————THIS WILL TAKE LAGOSIANS OVER 45 YRS TO PAY–THAT IS A STATE WHICH GENERATES THE LARGEST INTERNAL REVENUE IN NIGERIA–YET CANNOT RUN ITS ECONOMY EFFECTIVELY WELL–WHAT IF THEY ARE GIVEN THE CENTRE?—————CLEAR AS DAYLIGHT THAT THEY WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO MANAGE IT–WITH BUHARIN NOW SUFFERING FROM WHAT SOME SAY PARKINSON DISEASE

        • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

          Well and good !! your born-to-rule are not fit to govern their region so how can they govern Nigeria well,just imagine how they destroyed their own region with mass-illiteracy,diseases,Islamic terrorism,corruption etc. over a period of almost 40 years they held on to power but the south kept developing out of a superior political ideology,hard work,tolerance and a liberal forward looking ,modern society.

          As a result,the north is light years behind the south in all spheres of human effort while semi-illiterates like you go around looking for people to kill !!

          • IS.JESUS.CHRIST.A.CHRISTIAN

            LIAR!!. THE ARABIC ISLAMIC CULTURE AND LITERATURE WHICH WAS FLOURISHING IN PRE- COLONIAL NORTHERN NIGERIA WAS CONTAINED AND BROUGHT TO A LOWER LEVEL AS A RESULT OF THE ADVENT COLONIALISM. AND THE EVANGELISM WHICH ACCOMPANIED THE COLONIALIST MADE THE NORTH MUSLIMS TO REFRAIN FROM WESTERN CULTURE WHICH TO THEM IS A MERE POTHOLE TO BE USED FOR CONVERTING MUSLIMS TO CHRISTIANITY. BUT WITH ALL THE CLAIM YOU MAKE IN TERMS OF PROGRESS YOU ARE STILL BACKWARD AND NOT DEVELOPED TO A MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE HUMAN CHARACTER. YOU STILL MORE ANIMALISTIC AND WILD IN APPROACH JUST LIKE ANIMALS IN THE JUNGLE. THIS CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE REALITY THAT ANY WHERE IN THE WORLD THE BEST PLACE FOR SOUTHERN NIGERIANS IS EITHER PRISON OR EXECUTION.

    • johnson

      The name you call yourself on this forum is a clear indication that you are a mischief maker.
      Calling yourself “is Jesus christ a christain” is an insult on God we worship.If it were the other way round you would started burning fellow human beings as is your character and orientation.
      If you are decent and cultured,and respect other faiths apart from your faith,change your name on this forum.

      • IS.JESUS.CHRIST.A.CHRISTIAN

        IGBO CRIMINAL BY BIRTH. SLAVE OF THE SATAN JESUS.

  • TRUTH MASTER

    First, the APC was their enemy, now it’s Jega and his INEC. Very soon, the PDP will be seeking the removal of the PDP from power. That’s what happens when a government has run out of ideas, and all it does is to steal public funds entrusted to its care. PDP knows full well that CHANGE is inevitable.

  • favourtalk

    even if he tries to sack him , it will be the greatest mistake and blunder that he will ever do, we cant just allow foolishness to take over our regime, we need change and nobody should dare change the wish of the people and desire. we wants better nation beside this wickedness of GEJ

    • jack

      Jega is a gonner

  • Chris1408

    GEJ will self destruct soon. Let him keep acting like a modern day emperor

  • tyson

    Who said Jonathan is going to sack Jega—–? Must we disrespect the law because of Fulanis like Booooooooooooohari and Jega—Buhari could not provide his certs to INEC–Tinubu says cert or no cert–we must vote for booooooooooooooooooooohari——-APC should stop deceiving Nigerians-with these their satanic antics–They have already done enough damage to the psychic of Nigerians within the last few months———Enough to have created another boko haram war in Nigeria——Jega is due to start his terminal leave on the 1st of March————that is he is due to proceed on 3 months leave in lieu of his coming retirement————from government establishment–so what is the noise here about—again? That Jonathan wants to sack Jega——why must APC lie to us just to satisfy the selfish ambition of Tinubu and the Night Soil Men in his party-

  • tyson

    (Prof Maurice Iwu. Iwu’s tenure was due to expire on June 13, 2010. However, on April 28, 2010, then acting President Jonathan, ordered Iwu to proceed on terminal leave. That Iwu’s own terminal leave was less than three months to his mathematical five years was probably a matter of expediency of that turbulent era and presidential grace, to boot.
    In recent times, we have seen other equally constitutionally-tenured public servants proceed on terminal leave before the exact date of expiration of their tenure. Here are few examples. Former IGP Abubakar’s tenure was due to end on July 30, 2014 but he proceeded or was sent on terminal leave on May 12, 2014. Former Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Dahiru Musdapher voluntarily proceeded on terminal leave three months before the constitutional or mathematical end of his tenure. Ditto for former PCA, Justice Salami, even though his own was somewhat exceptional because he was on suspension when his terminal leave clock began to tick. I might add that Salami fought his for its exceptional equities but still lost. Jega has no such equities.)

    • objective

      Yes. Many tainted officers misused their offices and when they were to be crucified or hanged nobody to spoke for them.

      In Jega’s case, we need people like him; and the law must therefore take its full course. Concerned Nigerians will seek an order of court to block any illegal action of any president directed toward removing Jega in any guise; and the action must be stayed pending the determination of the matter.

  • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

    Jonathan can’t fire Sanusi. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was suspended and effectively fired.
    Jonathan can’t shift election dates. Election dates have been shifted and heaven did not fall.
    Jonathan can’t fire Jega. Jega will not only be fired but he will also be arrested and prosecuted for trying to manipulate the electoral process to favour Buhari/APC.
    Make una dey there dey shout for nothing.

  • thusspokez

    “According to the 1999 Constitution (amended), the president can only remove the INEC Chairman on the strength of an advice from the Senate.”

    So the President can fire Jega. The author is contradicting himself after claiming that the President cannot fire Jega.

    “Mr. Jega..was appointed in June 2009, completes his five year tenure on June 30 this year.”

    Not reappointing Jega or sacking him achieves the same end.

    “Last week, some southern elders under the aegis of Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly”

    Let’s ignore those people. Jega is not fit for purpose. His forte is in teaching; performing academic researching, writing papers. Academia is far removed from the rough and tumble of running an organisation in the real world. Jega is simply not up to the job, and for this reason, he should be fired.

    Indeed, I doubt if Jega’s CV was even looked at before he was appointed. How could anyone who read his CV give him the job? He doesn’t have the experience. Nigerians think that if someone is a professor or hold a PhD, he or she must be capable of any job. Wrong!

  • Abdul.

    WHAT PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW IS THAT EVERY SECTION OF THE LAW CAN BE INTERPRETED A THOUSAND TIMES BY A THOUSAND LAWYERS DEPENDING ON ISSUES AT HAND. OK IF THAT’s THE CASE, WHY NOT SAY IT’s THE SENATE THAT IS SADDLE WITH RESPONSIBILITY TO APPOINT PEOPLE TO INEC OFFICE SINCE mr PRESIDOO CAN NO LONGA SACK WHOEVER HE APPOINTED. Pls go back 2 your consn &m read it well and pray that Jega Should not take side or else he must GO.

  • objective

    So many people are after Jega. Some are after him because they want to rig the election, others are after him because they are afraid of a Buhari government, based on such people’s antecedents (corruption, coups and previous misdeeds). The interest of Nigeria has no place in all these anymore and it is very sad. It is now individuals or group interest.

    Jega is a man that is very upright at heart and he is appropriately independent. This man conducted the freest, fairest and most decent election in our national history. Jega is a decent man a man of integrity, of purpose and of the fear of God; yet some hoodlums are trying to gang up against him. Anyway, let it be very clear, we must strictly abide by the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; and it stipulates that Jega can only be removed subject to the approval or advise (put it in whatever way you like it) of 2/3 majority of the Senate.

    Any action taken contrary to this provision, will be a violation of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and will automatically become and impeachable offence on the part of the President. So Jonathan should note this.