Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has stated that the outbursts of the opposition All Progressives Congress over the possible removal of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC Attahiru Jega, is “mere comedy”, saying “President Goodluck Jonathan can sack Jega if he wishes and if he does, heavens will not fall.”
The spokesperson for the APC, Lai Mohammed, had Wednesday addressed a press conference alleging that there is a plot to transfer a humongous amount of money into the bank account of Mr Jega, and then claim that the money came from one of its national leaders, Bola Tinubu “in order to justify the ongoing plan to sack Prof. Jega so he won’t organize the elections”.
The governor, who said the APC should stop acting as if Nigeria belongs to the it, added that “by turning themselves to advocates and defenders of the INEC chairman, the APC and its agents have shown that they have a deal with Jega to manipulate the elections and that the deal will be frustrated if he is asked to leave office”.
Mr. Fayose said in a release Wednesday, and signed by his spokesperson, Lere Olayinka, that “removal of Jega and any other appointees of the Federal Government is a prerogative of the president, which no one can question, provided laid down rules are followed”.
He said the position expressed by the House of Representatives was that of the APC members in the House, urging that “the APC lawmakers should rather pay attention to the ill-health of their party’s presidential candidate, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), whose whereabouts is now a mystery”.
The governor described Mr. Jega as partisan, saying, “By his actions and utterances, Jega had already demonstrated his bias in support of the APC. For instance, how can Jega explain the 80 per cent distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) in Boko Haram ravaged Borno and Yobe States while less than 40 per cent has been distributed in Lagos as at February 7 that the election was postponed?”
He said, “It is on record that Prof Maurice Iwu was asked to proceed on terminal leave two months to the end of his tenure? Is Jega not a beneficiary of Iwu’s removal? So if Iwu was asked to go on terminal leave before the expiration of his tenure for Jega to assume office, what difference does it make if Jega too is asked to proceed on terminal leave before the expiration of his tenure?”
Speaking further, Governor Fayose said, “It is the president that can determine whether or not Jega will go on the mandatory three months terminal leave which should commence on March 8, and if the president decides that the INEC chairman should go on terminal leave, what can the APC loudmouths do?
“They boasted before the postponement of the elections that they would go on street protests, but did they do anything? They made noise when Justice Isa Ayo Salami was removed from office as president of the Court of Appeal, what did their noise amount to?
“Therefore, let me say it categorically that the noise being made by the APC and their agents will amount to nothing because if the president removes Jega today, heavens will not fall,” Mr. Fayose said.