■ Fresh pressure mounts on Jonathan to remove INEC boss
Southern lead¬ers under the aegis of the Southern Nige¬ria Peoples Assembly, SNPA, have sustained a spirited pressure on President Goodluck Jonathan to suspend from office the chair¬man of the Indepen¬dent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof Attahiru Jega, before the March 28 Presidential elections, alleging that he is com-promised and would not deliver on a free, fair and credible polls.
Notable leaders of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who have hith¬erto been sitting on the fence in the aftermath of the crisis that forced the shift in polls date have also stepped up efforts to ease the embat¬tled electoral empire off his seat before the expiration of his term in June.
While Jonathan is be¬sieged with a multitude of requests by these groups and individuals, he is yet to give indication that he will buckle under, considering what a source close to him said is “the far reaching im¬plications of such an action in this critical tense election atmosphere.” Indeed, the president played the issue down during the presiden¬tial media chat last Wednes¬day.
The national chairman of the party, Alhaji Adamu Muazu followed suit on Friday with a reaffirmation of confidence on the INEC National Chairman.
Beneath the veneer is a seething anger and protest over his continued stay at the helm of INEC. Sunday Sun sourced from various leaders of the party and the SLPA, which is led by octogenarian former Min¬ister of Information, Chief Edwin Clarke that the ir¬reducible minimum for the acceptance of the result of the elections are Jega’s exit from INEC, a proper re-evaluation and redistri¬bution of the permanent voters cards, PVCs, the refining and adoption of option A4 voting system, which was used in the high¬ly acclaimed June 12, 1993 presidential elections, and the appointment of a new chairman and fresh struc¬ture at INEC to conduct the election on a new date to be determined by the new body.
The lobbyists are insist¬ing on the setting up of an Interim National Govern¬ment, ING, which they christened “caretaker gov¬ernment” to be headed by Jonathan on May 29, 2015. One of the Southern lead¬ers behind the new push, Dr. Chukwuemeka Eze¬ife, a former Governor of Anambra State, confirmed the development when contacted.
A catalogue of Jega’s “sins”, Sunday Sun learnt has since been taken to Jon¬athan. The “sins” include accusations that his actions at INEC were guided by the decision of the sectional Northern Elders Forum, NEF.
A review of the pur¬ported meeting of NEF in Kaduna, a copy of which is in the possession of Sunday Sun outlined various mea¬sures aimed at undermining the Jonathan Presidency, and returning power to the North at all costs. In the said minutes, it was agreed that the distribution of poll¬ing units and PVCs should be skewed in favour of the North. The South-south and Southeast, considered by many as prime strong holds of Jonathan were to be shrunk in the exercise.
Sunday Sun further learnt that the PVCs were printed in Maitama, a high¬brow area of Abuja by local contractors mainly from the North West, before they were taken to China follow¬ing an outcry over the print quality.
The complaints to Jona¬than also emphasized that proposals on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) were for the purposes of rigging the polls, which according to Sunday Sun investigations conformed with the mandate contained in the NEF minutes.
“After the uproar that greeted the distribution of polling units and the in¬tervention of the Senate Committee on INEC, Jega adamantly proceeded with the distribution of the poll¬ing units, until some people went to court and stopped him,” Sunday Sun was told.
Those who are pushing for Jega’s removal also ar¬gued that he misled the na¬tion and the global audience interested in Nigeria’s 2015 election, when he addressed the media to announce the shift in the polls.
While briefing the Na¬tional Council of State on INEC’s preparedness for the elections, the INEC chairman had actually ad¬mitted that the electoral body had challenges, which is a bit more of time of ad¬ditional preparation’ would be needed to perfect the processes. But when Jega addressed the media, he made a somersault and said that INEC was ready to pro¬ceed with polls and rather blamed the military for the decision of the electoral body to shift the dates for the polls.
A source privy to the true state of affairs with regard to the preparations for the elections indicated that even with the six-week ex¬tension, the electoral body would still not overcome the key logistical challeng¬es vital to the smooth con¬duct of the polls.
This further buttressed the clamour for Jega’s re¬moval as his continued stay, the critics argued, could plunge the nation into avoidable crisis.
Declaring that the south no longer reposed confi¬dence on Jega as a fair and impartial umpire to mid¬wife the election, one of the leaders said, “there was no way Buhari wouldn’t have been declared winner on February 14. NEF had al¬ready assembled 21 Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SAN to defend his victory at the tribunal. We have that on good authority. They also set up a small informal committee to meet all Judg¬es of Northern stock.”
Calls to a leader of NEF, Prof Ango Abdullahi by Sunday Sun did not go through. Also, short mes¬sage service, SMS, to his number for confirmation of the allegations was not re¬plied before press time.
Although insinuations of a possible military coup have been dismissed by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, there is still un¬ease around the President’s circle, even as Sunday Sun learnt that Jonathan was unfazed over the develop¬ment. Adoke had carpeted those who had recommend¬ed unconstitutional means to effect a change of gov¬ernment.
Former President Oluse¬gun Obasanjo, had in a reaction to the shift in the dates of polls last week exclaimed that “….I hope there won’t be coup.”
But beyond the alleged military coup plot, are grave speculations that some disgruntled elements are hatching a plot to as¬sassinate the president. Ru¬mours of the plot have how¬ever not been heralded with any panicky unusual securi-ty measures thrown around the President, which gave an indication that it was not taken seriously. Some leaders of the ruling party are however angry over the prevailing situation which has plunged the morale of members to an all time low.
The report of the Nation¬al Conference which was held last year, may never be implemented, Sunday Sun also gathered. Jonathan had vowed severally, while in¬augurating the conference, and receiving the reports, last year that he would en¬sure the full implementa¬tion of the resolutions.
No sooner he made the vows than anti-conference elements, from the North went to work to scuttle it. Several threats were issued, and Jonathan was appar¬ently blackmailed into con¬signing it to the “rubbish heap of history.”
■ Fresh pressure mounts on Jonathan to remove INEC boss