Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has described outbursts of the All Progressives Congress, APC, over the possible removal of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega as mere comedy adding that President Goodluck Jonathan can sack Jega if he wishes and if he does, and “heavens will not fall”, PM News reports.
The governor, who said the APC should stop acting as if Nigeria belongs to the party, added that “by turning themselves to advocates and defenders of the INEC chairman, the APC and its agents have shown that they have a deal with Jega to manipulate the elections and that the deal will be frustrated if he is asked to leave office.”
Many lawyers and human rights activists have insisted that President Jonathan does not have the right to firs Jega since his appointment is not regulated by the Civil Service rules and since the Nigerian constitution outrightly states that the INEC chairman can only be sacked by the National Assembly.
The House of Representatives also on Tuesday warned against any attempt by the President to sack Jega saying it would create political crisis.
Governor Fayose said in a release issued on Wednesday, and signed by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, that “removal of Jega and any other appointees of the Federal Government is a prerogative of the president, which no one can question, provided laid down rules are followed.”
He said the position expressed by the House of Representatives was that of the APC members in the House, urging that “the APC lawmakers should rather pay attention to the ill-health of their party’s presidential candidate, Major General Mohammadu Buhari (rtd), whose whereabouts is now a mystery.”
The governor described Jega as partisan, saying; “By his actions and utterances, Jega had already demonstrated his bias in support of the APC.
“For instance, how can Jega explain the 80 per cent distribution of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) in Boko Haram ravaged Borno and Yobe states while less than 40 per cent distributed in Lagos as at February 7 that the election was postponed?
“It is on record that Prof Maurice Iwu was asked to proceed on terminal leave two months to the end of his tenure? Is Jega not a beneficiary of Iwu’s removal?
“So if Iwu was asked to go on terminal leave before the expiration of his tenure for Jega to assume office, what difference does it make if Jega too is asked to proceed on terminal leave before the expiration of his tenure?”
“It is the president that can determine whether or not Jega will go on the mandatory three months terminal leave which should commence on March 8, and if the president decides that the INEC chairman should go on terminal leave, what can the APC loudmouths do?
“They boasted before the postponement of the elections that they would go on street protests, but did they do anything? They made noise when Justice Isa Ayo Salami was removed from office as president of the Court of Appeal, what did their noise amount to?
“Therefore, let me say it categorically that the noise being made by the APC and their agents will amount to nothing because if the president removes Jega today, heavens will not fall.”