President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday said although he has the powers to fire the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, he is not contemplating doing so.
He stated this during the Presidential Media Chat in response to reports that the Presidency was plotting to sack the INEC Chairman based on the calls by some supporters of Mr. Jonathan who are accusing Mr. Jega of bias.
The president did not however mention the provision of the constitution that empowers him to sack Mr. Jega.
Mr. Jega had on Saturday announced a reschedule of the presidential and national assembly elections from February 14 to March 28 and the governorship and state assembly elections from February 28 to April 11.
He hinged the postponement on the security challenges in the north east zone, saying the military and the security agencies had informed the commission that they would not be available to provide security in that zone.
It is believed in some quarters that the Commission was forced to take the step because Mr. Jonathan’s party, the Peoples Democratic Party, as well as some of the president’s sympathisers no longer had confidence in Mr. Jega’s leadership.
However, responding to a question from a four-member panel of interviewers on whether he was planning to remove Mr. Jega, the president, who is also the PDP presidential candidate in the now rescheduled election, said most of the information being spread about the issue did not emanate from him.
Wishing that Mr. Jega was there to answer the question, Mr. Jonathan however explained that in politics, the campaign leadership and supporters of particular candidates could post any information online without the knowledge of such politician.
He stated that some people had been using the opportunity presented by the postponement of the polls to misinform the public.
“One thing about politics and leadership generally, when you are leader, let us say when you are governor you have a number of people who support you but you don’t even know what they do or what they say,” he said.
“Maybe somebody has been making statements about something the assumption is that because that person supports you or they are your fans and some of them are fans of other candidates, it is assumed that you said so.”
The president said he appointed all the INEC national commissioners and the Resident Electoral Commissioners on the strength of the constitution and that if he felt Mr. Jega was not good enough for obvious reason, he could ask him to go.
“I have not told anybody that I am going to remove Jega. I have not said so. You see some of these things are creation by people for one interest or the other,” he said.
Mr. Jonathan said some people are cashing in on the postponement of the elections to misinform Nigerians.
He said he was saddened by the misinformation being dished out to young Nigerians.