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Jega’s Sack Will Ridicule Jonathan’s Credibility -Group

By Niyi Adeyi, Lagos – Against the background of the rife speculations over the likely sack of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has cautioned the Presidency against the move, saying the action if carried out, will confirm the suspicion that the present administration is not keen on holding a free and fair election.

The group in a statement signed by its Director, Professor Lakin Akintola indicated that the rumored shopping around for a pliant INEC chairman was not the best thing for Mr. President to do at this material time, adding that Nigerians would not have confidence in a man appointed few weeks to the elections.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega

INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega

“INEC is supposed to be independent and that is implied in its nomenclature. Replacing Jega with another person who is ready to compromise will be the last nail in the coffin of this regime’s credibility. It will be so transparent that the whole world will see that President Jonathan’s wish is to turn Nigeria into a banana republic.

“MURIC affirms that the credibility of any other person as chairman of INEC apart from Jega will be questionable. The thought of replacement also raises more questions than answers. When will such a person get to understand the system? Will he be able to operate on the same wavelength as Jega? Will he gain the confidence of INEC commissioners? How soon can he acclimatize? Such a replacement can only bring confusion” Professor Akintola asserted.

The human rights organization stated that pundits have speculated that President Jonathan was eyeing the Vice Chancellor of one of the universities, noting that such a new appointee was going to be Mr. President’s loyalist; hence it would be easy for the Federal Government to influence him.

The group advised Mr. President to drop the idea, contending that Nigerians reposed full confidence in Prof. Jega, as he has conducted several elections without blemish.

“They will trust him again. Any new Chairman is either a parasite on INEC’s tree of success, Mr. President’s bootlicker or a court jester whose value starts and ends in Aso Rock.

“We therefore strongly advise Mr. President to allow Jega to finish what he started. He is doing well. He is a good umpire. Those who nurse the fear of North-Jega connivance are not being sincere. After all, he supervised the election won by Mr. President in 2011 and the president’s main contender at the time is the same Northerner and main opposition candidate today.

“President Jonathan should let sleeping dogs lie. Jega has pedigree. As the former president of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU), Jega epitomizes Nigeria’s center of excellence. This has been proved several times as professors have served INEC as returning officers. Thus Nigerians have had no cause to doubt the results of elections apart from Ekitigate, Professor Akintola restated.

In the meantime, the association charged Professor Jega to remain resolute and undaunted, as well as not allow intimidation to push him towards resignation.

Professor Akintola also argued that no Professor of real substance should serve in any election organized under any other chairman if Jega is removed, adding “such an election can only be a kangaroo election and it will smear the image of the academia”.


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