Federal Government on Friday further compounded fears in some quarters that the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, could be sacked before the general elections. In an answer to enquiries on government’s stand on allegation that the INEC boss would soon be asked to proceed on a terminal leave, the Federal Government through the Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, gave a rather ambiguous answer.
He said the exit of Jega from the chairmanship of the INEC would take a natural course. Duke, who is also the supervising Minister of Information, spoke with journalists at the headquarters of the Ministry of Information in Abuja on Friday.
While answering a question on whether the Federal Government planned to send Jaga on terminal leave before the expiration of his tenure in June, Duke said Jega would not be sacked as President Goodluck Jonathan had pledged, but added that his exit from the electoral body would be a natural sequence.
The minister said, “On the issue of the INEC chairman, I align myself with what the President said that he has no plan to sack the INEC chairman. “That is not to say that if it is time for the INEC chairman to naturally exit his office, then the natural course of things will not take place.
“It is like saying a civil servant has done 35 years or achieved the age of 60; we now begin to say that he must not retire or he must retire. I think all of that is in the terrain of the Presidency and he has spoken. I have nothing to add to that.” Duke added, “I will also like to say once on that issue. I recall that for several weeks now; people keep threatening the President on the shift in the date of the poll. You begin to wonder that parties have a couple of extra weeks in order to reinvigorate their campaigns and try to reach as many voters as possible. Rather than do that, you begin to identify imaginary pockets of unlikely developments and then focus your attention on them and then when you lose election, you begin to complain.”