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 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.”
Odigie-Oyegun, who lamented the postponement of the general elections from February to this month end however, stated that the polls would be in favour of his party at the end of the day.
“I am not going to speculate, but we are going to win the election with a landslide because I am yet to walk the streets and see somebody who doesn’t want change, quite frankly. The entire population has taken ownership of that word and the process, and they are the ones now driving it,” he stressed.
Jonathan meets Abdulsalami, Mbeki, Sultan, Onaiyekan, service chiefs, others
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday held closed-door meeting with Nigeria’s former Head of State, Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar (rtd.) and a former South African president, Thabo Mbeki.
The meeting was held inside the president’s official residence inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Although none of the participants spoke to journalists on the subject of the meeting, our correspondent gathered that it had to do with how to ensure peace and success in the forthcoming general elections rescheduled for March 28 and April 11 this year.
LEADERSHIP recalls that Abdusalami Abubakar is the chairman of the National Peace Committee for 2015 general polls.
The former military leader had on Saturday met with the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, over the elections.
Also in attendance at the meeting were service chiefs, including the chief of defence staff, Air Vice Marshal Alex Badeh; the inspector-general of Police, Mr Suleiman Abba, as well as the leadership of the major political parties.
Others who attended the meeting were the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III; Catholic archbishop of Abuja, John cardinal Onaiyekan ; Catholic bishop of Sokoto diocese, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah; former chief of general staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe; special adviser to the president on inter-party relations, Senator Ben Obi.