Posted by News Express | 27 February 2015 | 2,917 times
The Minority Leader of the Senate, who doubles as leader of APC caucus, Senator George Akume, has led other Al Progressive Congress (APC) Senators to alert the nation on the planned removal of the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega through a terminal leave.
It would be recalled that President Goodluck Jonathan had, at his last media interaction, dismissed rumours of Jega’s compulsory terminal leave.
Akume, who on Thursday marched out of the Senate chamber amid the plenary along with APC Senators to brief journalists on what he considered a germane national issue, said the party had it on good authority that there were desperate moves by the PDP government to send Jega on terminal leave without recourse to the sensitive nature of the March 28 and April 11, 2015 elections.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have received information from very, very informed source, very , very credible source that the chairman of the INEC, Attahiru Jega, will be served a letter by the office of the Head of Civil Service directing him to proceed on terminal leave. Whether the letter is going to come from the Head of Service or from the Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF), it does not make sense,” he said.
He queried the rationale in asking Jega to proceed on terminal leave at a time the whole world is focusing on the nation’ electoral umpire for a credible election, adding that since Jega’s appointment does not fall with the purview of Civil Service Rule by virtue of his political appointment, it would be illegal and unconstitutional for anybody to contemplate sending him on leave at this crucial time.
“This thing is not applicable to political appointees such as Jega. Why would the Federal Government-controlled by PDP contemplate asking Jega to proceed on terminal leave? Why would one want to tamper with an arrangement that is so critical to this election? Jega was ready to conduct the election, the Federal Government controlled by the PDP was not ready,” he noted.
Also lending his voice to Akume’s position, former governor of Gombe State, Danjuma Goje, said the constitution is clear on the removal of INEC chairman.
“The constitution is clear, Jega is not a civil servant and how he was appointed is clear, the Senate has to approve and the removal which is going to follow the same process and we are waiting. Any other means of removing Jega will be unconstitutional and will be rejected,” Goje added.
Also, Senator Kabir Marafa added: “Section 157(1) clearly states that the president can only remove Jega with the vote of two-thirds majority of all senators. Under whatever guise, whether suspension, retirement or voluntary leave, he cannot be removed.”
•Adapted from a Daily Independent report. Photo shows Senator Akume.
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