|All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun|
The national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, at the weekend, ruled out the possibility of holding the forthcoming general elections in the country if the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, was removed as being speculated.
The politician spoke against the backdrop of the speculations making the rounds about the possible removal of Jega ahead of the polls. Although he expressed pessimism about the possibility of Jega’s removal given President Goodluck Jonathan’s assurance that the INEC chairman would oversee the conduct of the polls, he stated that doing otherwise, would mean the elections won’t hold.
“I don’t think they can remove him. We have only three weeks, although President Goodluck Jonathan keeps saying he has no plan to sack him, that is different from removing him. But we have only three weeks unless they don’t want an election,” he said.
The former Edo State governor, who spoke with Leadership Newspaper in Abuja also stated why the APC is at the forefront of the pro-jega campaign noting the party was doing so in the interest of the nation without any ulterior motive.
His words: “It’s simple! We had one postponement; we don’t want a second one. In the middle, in fact, almost at the terminal end of a journey, you don’t change the captain. You don’t know who the new captain would be, you don’t know how conversant that new captain would be, and he may as well just request for another three months to familiarize himself with his job and the rest of it; that is unacceptable.
“Two, though that point hasn’t been flogged well enough, is that Jega was not appointed alone. So, if Jega has to proceed on terminal leave, why are the others not proceeding on terminal leave? In which case, we will have no INEC to conduct the elections. So, unless Jega’s terminal leave is punitive, in which case you have to tell the nation, but he has done no wrong. He is not a civil servant and he has a fixed constitutional term, full stop.
“Even if Jega himself was willing and applied to go on leave, the whole nation should beg him not to go until such a delicate assignment on which he is engaged is complete.”