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Tambuwal Flays Plot To Remove Jega

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja – Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has criticized the alleged attempt to remove the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, describing it as unconstitutional and inimical to the survival of democracy in the country.

Tambuwal made this observation when he received members of the NCS-SR who paid him a courtesy call in his office.

Prior to the meeting with the NCS-SR, the House had during plenary taken the same position as that of the Speaker, when, at plenary, it resolved that it would subject any person or organisation that attempts oust Jega to litigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) or a suitable local justice forum.

Tambuwal noted that those plotting Jega’s removal are simply playing a script that Nigerians are familiar with. “When the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II,” whose removal he explained precipitated the current economic woes being experienced in the nation, “I had cause to condemn the act. Those contemplating Jega’s removal are acting along the same line.”

“But Jega is not a civil servant. We should be careful. We shouldn’t sent the wrong signal to the people of Nigeria,” the Speaker appealed.

Kicking against the veiled declaration of war and the indications from some quarters that an interim government is in the offing, Tambuwal observed that “signs are ominous that if we are not careful, the dark days will return to Nigeria.”

“There is no interim government in the constitution. Those talking about interim government, are they planning a coup? It is outside the constitution and I don’t know why our security agencies are condoning it? It is a treasonable offence. We should respect the wishes of the people and the will of God.”

“It is very clear that certain individuals are not interested in a free and fair electoral process,” he added, stressing that, if on the contrary the electorates decides, their verdict should be respected.

“We should always remember that power belongs to God and He gives it as He wills. We should appreciate that not up to 10 per cent of us (Nigerians) are politicians. What then happens to the remaining 90 per cent? If you do what pleases you and at the end of the day crises breaks out, what happens?,” he asked.

He urged politicians to look at the ordinary people of the country. “Are we as a nation where we ought to be? Are we doing the right thing?, he again asked as he assured that “as a parliament, we will continue to do our. We are in this together, working towards a transparent, free and fair election.”

Tambuwal also had a word of caution for the electronic media which beam sponsored advertisements attacking some members of the opposition political parties.

“Some of the adverts are well over and above board,” he pointed out, wondering whether leaders of such organisations ever think about the future.

In his speech, Clement Nwankwo of the NCS-SR said the group is worried about the economic crises in the country, the fate of the constitution and the forthcoming general elections.

“We are making the point that the dates of the elections are so close to the handover dates, so it will be intolerable to postpone the elections again.”

He also criticised the idea of foisting an interim government on the nation and the suggestions that Jega should proceed on terminal leave. Citing sections 156-7 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which do not provide for such option in the case of the disengagement modality of INEC appointees, Nwankwo asked the National Assembly to intervene and ensure that the membershi of INEC remains sacrosanct.

In his submission, Festus Okoye also upheld what Nwankwo said. “We believe that there is a certain institution of democracy that should be respected and protected.”

“INEC is one such. If it is undermined, democracy will be degraded. If we destroy INEC, the constitution has not provided another body to hold the elections. The National Assembly should find a way of protecting INEC from unwarranted attack so that we will have an election that is free,” Okoye said.

Meanwhile, expressing apprehension about Jega’s fate and the likely eruption of violence, the House yesterday that it would “hold personally accountable at domestic judicial forum or at the International Criminal Court, any person or organisation that foists on INEC any decision or action whatsoever, including unconstitutional attempt to remove the current INEC chairman, that has the effect of making it impracticable for the election to hold on 20th March and 11th April, 2015.”

The House, also prompted by a motion on ‘threat to further tamper with the status quo arrangements for the 2015 general elections’ moved by Hon. Ali Ahmed (APC, Kwara), the House equally urged the federal government, states and security agencies to “heed the warning of imminent and present danger associated with any interference with the existing schedules of the general elections.”



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