“Jega not under threat of sack, to conduct 2015 elections”

Former INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, is not facing any threat of sack, and will lead the Commission to conduct the now rescheduled general elections, his office said Tuesday.

There had been speculations that Mr. Jega might be removed by the Presidency months to the expiration of his five-year tenure.

The Presidency and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party are allegedly plotting to remove the INEC Chairman over claims that he had not only become too independent-minded, but had openly blamed the military for the postponement of the elections.

Mr. Jega had last Saturday attributed the postponement of the elections to security challenges in the North East region.

He also said the military and security agencies had informed the commission that they would not provide security if the polls were to hold February.

However, in a telephone interview on Tuesday, Mr. Jega’s media assistant, Kayode Idowu, denied knowledge of moves to ask his boss to proceed on terminal leave preparatory to his exit in June, insisting that the chairman would conduct the rescheduled polls.

“I’m not aware that he is going on terminal leave,” Mr. Idowu told PREMIUM TIMES. “He has an election to conduct. You don’t go on terminal leave when you have an election to conduct.”

Mr. Idowu said the commission regulates its service procedures.

According to him, “INEC shall not be regulated by any other law”.

Under Section 157 of the 1999 Constitution, the chairman of INEC can only be removed 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”.

The independence of the electoral body is also provided for under the Constitution.

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