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Jega’s Removal Could Cause National Crisis – CNPP, Sagay

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The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties has cautioned the Presidency to shelve any idea of sacking the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega.
Also, a prominent constitutional lawyer, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), urged President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party against any attempt to remove Jega.
Sagay, who spoke in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Ilorin, on Monday, argued that Jega’s removal before the general elections could precipitate a national crisis of grave consequences.
Sagay said, “Although one can say that when there are some rumours in Nigeria, there must be fire before the smoke, otherwise my initial reaction was, ‘Why would a party and the government in power move to deliberately create a situation which will rock the whole country and create, if we are not careful, some form of anarchy and turbulence?’
“Removal of Jega is an unnecessary attempt of trying to wake up trouble which is asleep; if they don’t do that because Jega is not a civil servant, therefore he cannot be removed by being asked to go on leave, because all civil servants are obliged to operate under that system– a system in which they are either going to end service if they are 30 years in service or they are 60 years old.
“Jega is a political appointee for just five years. That is clear. Five years; no less, no more. Before that time, nobody can remove him unless for gross misconduct. That misconduct must be reported to the Senate which will then start a proposal to remove him by two-third majority.”
He added, “So put everything together, given that election is coming in view, I think it will be an exercise that can lead the country into crisis which consequences we cannot really predict. I just want to believe that it is just a rumour.”
The CNPP said it was uncomfortable with reports of moves by the Federal Government and the PDP to remove Jega, alleging that the commission was ill-prepared for the 2015 elections.
The Rivers State Chairman of the CNPP, Dr. Menaigbi Dagogo-Jack, explained that the INEC chairman had done nothing wrong to warrant being sacked, warning that any attempt to relieve Jega of his duty few weeks to a major election would endanger the nation’s democracy.
Dagogo-Jack, who spoke in an exclusive interview with The PUNCH on Monday, urged the Presidency and the PDP to embrace national interest rather than selfish interest.
According to him, the move to remove Jega based on the excuse that he (Jega) has not been able to distribute enough Permanent Voter Cards across the country was flimsy and unacceptable.
“It will be totally wrong for them (Presidency and the PDP) to sack Jega. It will only confirm the position of the opposition that the PDP wants to rig the forthcoming election. We have never heard it anywhere in the world that an election umpire was removed few weeks to an election.
“Any problem noticed could be corrected. The timing is wrong to think of removing this man who has done nothing wrong. I have been in politics for a long time, but I have never seen the type of politics being played by the PDP-led government.
“Election is based on the total number of votes cast and not on the total number of PVCs collected. You cannot use undistributed PVCs to sack Jega. The PDP is just giving excuses. Why is the PDP raising one issue after the other? The move to sack Jega portends danger to our democracy,” the state CNPP chairman said.

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