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 Jonathan, PDP plotting to remove Jega –APC senators

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eddyvic
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PostSubject: Jonathan, PDP plotting to remove Jega –APC senators   2015-02-27, 06:30

Members of the All Progressives
Congress in the Senate on
Thursday alleged that there was a
fresh plot by the Federal
Government to prevent the
Independent National Electoral
Commission Chairman, Attahiru
Jega, from superintending over the
forthcoming general elections.
The APC senators, led by George
Akume, told a news conference in
Abuja that they heard from a
reliable source that the Head of
Service would direct Jega to
proceed on his pre-retirement
leave next week.
“We have received information
from a very credible source that
next week, the Chairman of INEC
will be given a letter from the
office of the Head of the Civil
Service to proceed on a terminal
leave,” they said.
The opposition senators alleged
that the Federal Government was
trying to use a circular from the
HoS dated August 11, 2010 to place
Jega on compulsory pre-retirement
leave.
They said, “Whether the letter
emanates from the HoS office or the
Secretary to the Government of the
Federation, it does not make sense.
Even if we go by the terms of the
Civil Service circular of August 11,
2010, (it) is not applicable
whatsoever to the INEC chairman.”
The lawmakers explained that the
circular, with reference number
HCSF/CMO/1772/TI/11, talks about
clarifications on pre-retirement
leave, which is only applicable to
tenured officers who are career
civil servants.
They said anyone who has spent 30
years in service or has attained 60
years of age was bound to
disengage officially from the
service. The senators however said
that the case of Jega did not fall
into any of these.
The lawmakers claimed that Jega’s
offence was his readiness to
conduct the elections when the
Peoples Democratic Party-
controlled Federal Government was
not.
The opposition senators insisted
that using the issue of card readers
to discredit Jega would not work
because the National Assembly
appropriated money for that
purpose.
They said, “We want a credible
election but in a situation where
we are being informed that
because the postponement of the
elections attracted no reaction
from the people, Jega could be
removed for a plan-less person
who will do the bidding of the
government, doesn’t hold water.
“You cannot start a game which is
about to end and suddenly you
want to change the goalpost. You
don’t want a referee that is fair to
all. You want to have someone who
will subvert the whole system for
sinister, personal purposes.
“We will continue to say no to
impunity. We will continue to say
no to any attempt to undermine
the credibility of the forthcoming
elections.
“We therefore want to appeal to
Nigerians to be steadfast to keep
watch so that their labour will not
be in vain. If Ghana and other
countries can get it right, Nigeria
can also get it right.
“We are opposed to the removal of
Jega because it is criminal, illegal
and unconstitutional. They want to
remove him through the back
door.”
Akume maintained that President
Goodluck Jonathan reserved the
right to remove Jega but that he
could not unilaterally do so without
seeking the permission of the
National Assembly through a two-
thirds majority.
The lawmakers added that
Jonathan lacked the legal powers
to suspend the INEC boss under
whatever guise.
They said, “Section 157(1) clearly
states that the president can only
remove Jega with the vote of 2/3
majority of all senators. Under
whatever guise; whether
suspension, retirement or
voluntary leave he cannot be
removed.
“Section 157 (1) of the 1999
Constitution (as amended), the
President cannot remove the INEC
Chairman from office without
getting approval of the Upper
Chamber.
“Section 157 (1) of the Constitution
reads, “…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.”
The senators also reiterated their
opposition to the clearance of
Musiliu Obanikoro as minister and
the deployment of soldiers for
elections.
Giving further clarification on the
fate of Obanikoro, their
spokesperson, Babafemi Ojudu,
said their position was that the
ministerial nominees was not
qualified to hold public office.
He said, “We are going to oppose
that and the three senators from
Lagos have written to Mark
opposing that.’’
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