A group of civil society organisations under the aegis of the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room on Tuesday, expressed concern over what it described as “personalized attacks” on the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, as well as heightened calls for his removal ahead of the general elections by politicians.
The Situation Room, in a statement on Tuesday, said calls for Jega’s removal violates Section I57 of the Nigerian Constitution, which guarantees the independence of INEC.
It said the attacks fell far outside the bounds of fair exchanges, adding that political stakeholders should show “appropriate respect for the role of INEC, its independence, and the channels for appropriate discourse”.
The Situation Room said if the INEC boss is actually sent on a disengagement leave before March 28 and April 11 elections, the public confidence in the Commission would be lost.
“Situation Room believes that the persistence of rumours of the Chairman’s removal is damaging to the polity and public confidence that the entire national leadership of INEC is free from threat.
“There are other National Commissioners appointed at the same time as the Chairman and stories implying that the Chairman should proceed on terminal leave lead to an inevitable conclusion that INEC’s leadership faces a threat at a time when no hint of interference should even be implied”, it said.