The Nigerian House of Representatives has adopted a motion seeking to stop any planned removal of the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, ahead of the general elections scheduled to hold March 28 and April 11.
The motion, sponsored by a member belonging to All Progressives Congress from Kwara State, Ali Ahmad, was adopted on Tuesday.
This came amid growing concern that the Nigerian Government is plotting to ask Mr. Jega to proceed on terminal leave before the elections.
Mr. Jega is to meet with Resident Electoral Commissioners on Wednesday, and there is anxiety that they may pass a vote of no confidence on the INEC Chief, which may serve as ground for his removal.
President Goodluck Jonathan has said the INEC Chairman can only be removed, “except that person has done something wrong”.
Addressing the House while submitting the motion, Mr. Ahmed said, “Any alteration to the status quo arrangement in whatever form at this crucial stage will invariably lead to further postponement of the date elections.
“Further concerned that such threats to tamper with the status quo may take several forms, including but not limited to the illegal removal of the current INEC Chairman”.
But the Deputy Minority Leader of the House, Leo Ogor, opposed Mr. Ahmed’s motion, arguing that “the motion was totally speculative”, as the lawmaker was not precise and precise about what was happening or who was planning the removal.
He said that “nobody is interested in removing the INEC Chairman.”
However, the Speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal, overruled by Mr. Ogor statement and put the motion up for vote.
The motion was eventually supported by majority of the members present at Tuesday’s sitting.
Later, Mr. Tmabuwal held meeting with members of Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room.
At the meeting, Mr. Tambuwal said, “certain individual or institution are not interested in free and fair election,” while commenting on the controversies surrounding the forthcoming elections.
Speaking on the purported plan for interim government, he said, “we don’t have it in the Constitution. Any government outside the Constitution is illegal.”
Mr. Jonathan has also dismissed interim government as “treasonable.”