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No Plan To Sack Jega, Says Jonathan

INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega

Against the general speculation on lack of confidence in Professor Attahiru Jega-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), President Goodluck Jonathan has affirmed his confidence in the present leadership of the commission as well as assured Nigerians that elections will be conducted and there will be inauguration of new government May 29 this year.

Mr. President gave the assurance during the Presidential Media Chat late Wednesday in Abuja.

President Jonathan said he appointed Professor Jega because he had confidence in him, saying the speculations about his possible sack, was a creation of certain persons, hence, could only be considered as belonging to the “garbage world”.

On the elections dates shift, President Jonathan who obviously admitted that it has caused many social and economic setbacks responded he sympathized with the international community on the sudden development.

Noting that he was fully conscious of the constitutional provisions, about the time frame between the conduct of elections and swearing-in, Mr. President yet, reversed as he said there was no big deal about election postponement, stating that the same thing happened in 2011 general elections – when elections were shifted by one week due to some logistics challenges.

Asked about the specific reasons for the shift, President Jonathan hinged the announcement on poor level of PVC distribution and its security implications as well as Boko Haram insurgency in the North Eastern part of the country.

He cited examples of Lagos and Ogun States where he said distribution as at last weekend stood at 38 or less than 40 per cent according to INEC. He linked this to his position that INEC “was a bit ready” for the conduct of the formerly scheduled February 14 and 28 elections.

With respect to the insurgency, Mr. President promised from tomorrow, (Thursday) that attack against the militants would be stepped up, especially now that the support of the neighbouring countries like Chad and Cameroon have been secured.

He promised with their joint operations with the Nigerian Military, the terrorists in dispatch would be dislodged in Adamawa, Yobe while the Borno operations was expected to take a while, before it could be finally curtailed.

However, President Jonathan who confessed he could not guarantee total dislodgement of the insurgents from the war zone as well as rescue of all the abducted Chibok girls, stated with the Multi National Force, within the announced six weeks, stated there was hope of more proactive operations and advancement.

On corruption, the incumbent Nigerian government expatiated on his infamous statement of “not all stealing are corruption” .President Jonathan pointed out that the statement was a quotation of former ICPC Chairman, Justice Mustapha Akanbi, who he claimed uttered the statement in a meeting he had with the heads of anti-graft bodies as well as judiciary.

In his words, Justice Akanbi held that about 80 per cent of the reported corruption cases were “stealing”, adding that the respected jurist at the meeting cautioned against the misuse of corruption cliché, as it was connotative and vague.”

He said using corruption was in a way covering those who stole public money, while in lieu of using it, the erring officer should be addressed as “thieves” so as to allow proper assimilation of the offence committed.

President noted some convictions have been made by his government, yet, the best way according to him to fight corruption was to avoid making raw cash available to people.


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