President Jonathan Can’t Sack Jega from INEC

February 14, 2015 12:04 pm

The Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, on Thursday faulted the claim
by that he was vested with the power by the
constitution to sack the Chairman of .

, who made the comment during a presidential media
chat with some selected journalists on Wednesday, has now said he has no
plans to sack INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega.

Responding to questions on his confidence in Jega to conduct a free and fair election, Jonathan said:

“I appointed him. If I feel he is not doing well, there are
constitutional provisions on how to remove him, but I have not even
contemplated it. I have never thought about removing the INEC Chairman,
though I have the constitutional power to do so.”

But the Civil Society Situation Room, comprising lawyers and
civil rights activists, declared at a press conference on Thursday that
though the President was vested with constitutional power to nominate
persons as INEC chairman for confirmation by Senate, he lacked power to
sack him.
The group also said the President also lacked the power to compel him to proceed on pre-retirement leave.

The group’s spokesman, Clement Nwankwo, stressed that the INEC, not
being a civil service institution, was not subject to civil service
rules and the control of the Head of the Service of the Federation.

“The constitution (Section 157) is very clear on the appointment of the chairman and members of INEC.”

The group also in a statement on Thursday called on the National
Assembly and the judiciary to ensure that democracy was not truncated by
the current government headed by President Jonathan.

It insisted that the new poll dates must not be shifted.

“We call on the security agencies that are mandated to be non-partisan
to respect the rights of all Nigerians, the decisions of INEC and ensure
a fair playing field for all political players. We call on all
political parties to communicate clearly with their party members and
supporters, that Nigeria cannot afford to postpone the elections in our
collective interest and they should maintain peace and order,” the group
urged.

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