ABUJA – APPARENTLY disturbed by speculations that the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega may be removed before his tenure expires on June 13, members of the All Progressives Congress,APC, in the House of Representatives, Tuesday, said President Goodluck Jonathan has no such powers to remove the apex electoral body boss.
Some of the APC lawmakers who spoke to Vanguard unanimously condemned the alleged move as President Jonathan does not have such constitutional powers to effect such a change.
Vanguard recalls that immediately after Jega announced the postponement of the 2015 elections, the social media was awash with stories that Jega was forced to postpone the election to pave way for the presidency to remove him from office.
Also prominent elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark in different fora had repeatedly call for the removal of Jega.
But today, APC Representatives in a chat with Vanguard declared that any attempt by the presidency to remove Jega would be resisted citing relevant sections of the constitution to buttress their points.
“Jega is not a civil servant-Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, APC, Surulere Federal Constituency, Lagos
Gbajabiamila in his reaction said” personally I do not consider the Chairman of INEC as a civil servant subject to our civil service rules same way I am not a civil servant”.
“There is a difference between a civil servant and a public servant or officer. INEC and its chairman are a creation of the constitution. Their operations and regulations are as provided under sections 156 and 160 of the constitution”.
“Which specifically says only INEC has the powers to regulate its own procedures and cannot be subject to approval or control of the president or any other authority thereby establishing its independence”.
He further explained that “furthermore terminal leave is a form of removal, however,you slice or cut it and section 157 of the constitution is very clear that the INEC chairman’s removal can only be initiated by two thirds of the senate and not by the president.
“The question of who is a civil servant is answered in section 171 of the constitution and the chairman of INEC is not included.