by Deji Abiodun
The All Progressives Congress (APC) senators caucus in the national assembly says it has received information that ?Attahiru Jega, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), will be directed to proceed on terminal leave next week.
Speaking at a press conference at the national assembly complex in Abuja on Thursday, George Akume, former governor of Benue state and senate minority leader, who represents Benue west, said the head of service would direct Jega to proceed on terminal leave next week. The senators condemned the attempt to remove the INEC chairman under any guise, saying his removal would be tantamount to “subversion of the system”.
“Only dishonest politicians fear Jega as chairman of INEC,” Akume said. “We have received information that next week Jega will be served a letter from the head of service directing him to proceed on terminal leave?. We wonder why the government wants to tamper with the current arrangement of INEC.”
The APC senators argued that Jega is not a civil servant but a political appointee whose fate is governed by the constitution, and as a result not subject to civi?l service rules. They alleged that the government had foisted the shifting of the elections on Nigerians, but now wants to get rid of Jega so as to install a “pliant and spineless” person who would its bidding for sinister reasons.
“We want elections that are credible. We oppose Jega’s removal by the back door. On a daily basis, Jega is being attacked. We condemn what the government wants to do,” Akume said. “This is the road to Golgotha. I wonder why they want to destroy this country.”
However, INEC has dismissed the APC senators’ statement that Jega will be asked to proceed on terminal leave next week. Kayode Idowu, spokesman of the INEC chairman, who spoke to TheCable, simply said: “There is nothing like that.”