Indications have emerged that the presidency has embarked on the process of replacing the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, who is seen as being too independent.
Jega, according to Vanguard, had been described by hawks around the president of being too independent-minded and ‘uncooperative’ despite being given the job on a platter of gold by the president’s men.
Vanguard learnt that although Jega reluctantly succumbed to pressure from the Presidency and its security chiefs to shift the polls, he might still not be allowed by the forces to conduct the rescheduled elections between March 28 and April 11. The news platform quoted ‘competent sources’ as saying that the Presidency was no longer comfortable with Jega and was therefore, working tirelessly to get him out of the commission to pave the way for a more ‘trusted hand’ to conduct the rescheduled elections.
The forces in the presidency against Jega were said to have convinced President Goodluck Jonathan not to extend Jega’s tenure, which ends this June, as they felt that Jega was rather too ‘difficult’ to deal with. The plan, Vanguard learnt is to ensure Jega leaves office inn March, as he would be asked to comply with the civil service procedure by proceeding on his three months terminal leave with effect from March 1. However, this leave is optional. The INEC boss may decide to work until his last day like former CBN governor did until he was suspended.
In case Jega decides to wait until his last day, which may not go down well with those who want him out, it is believed that a similar Sanusi situation may happen.
The INEC Chairman is already being accused of many things, including taking side with the opposition to undermine the success of Jonathan and his party in the next election.
Jonathan’s godfather, Chief Edwin Clark and other prominent politicians from the Southern part of the country had also last week accused Jega of working against the interest of the president and the PDP and had asked for his resignation.
Similarly, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, on Saturday, said Jega had lied about the state of the commission’s preparedness for the conduct of the election. The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, accused INEC of working with the opposition to deny its members of permanent voter cards in some states.
Vanguard gathered the Presidency had already lined up Jega’s replacement, another academic, who hails from the South-West and is currently heading a tertiary institution in the country. He is a professor of Political Science and International Relations and a sibling of a serving governor in the South-West, who is a close ally of President Goodluck Jonathan and his party, Vanguard reports, citing sources.