APC, Jega and an unholy relationship

By Post Nigeria March 21, 2015 15:00

APC, Jega and an unholy relationship

Two years ago the current presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, General Muhammadu Buhari, called for the sack of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega.

Buhari, speaking in London at the 4th British-African Diaspora Conference, held at the British House of Parliament on the theme “Stable Democracy and Nigeria’s Economy,” said sacking Jega and his lieutenants would be a good starting point for fixing Nigeria’s broken electoral system.

“All the present indications are that INEC as it is presently constituted would be unable to deliver any meaningful elections in 2015.

“INEC’s top echelon is immersed deep in corruption and only wholesale changes at the top could begin to cure its malaise,” Buhari brazenly declared.

He accused the Jega-led INEC of having developed “a very cozy relationship with the Executive and Judicial arms of Government that its impartiality is totally lost.”

Fast forward two years later to the brink of the 2015 elections, and there has been a strange turnaround by several members of the opposition party. The APC has been calling for the head of President Goodluck Jonathan over unfounded rumours that he plans to sack Jega before the elections.

Their comments and criticisms have been sustained, despite the fact that Jonathan has categorically stated that he has no plans to sack the INEC Chairman.

“I have not told anybody that I am going to remove Jega. I have not said so. You see some of these things are creation by people for one interest or the other,” he said during his last Presidential Media Chat.

“Government, whether at the Federal or State level (President or Governor), does not simply wake up and change somebody, especially someone like the INEC Chairman, except that person has done something wrong.

“INEC is a very sensitive body. If I abruptly change the INEC Chairman Nigerians will ask questions. So, you cannot wake up and change INEC Chairman.

“I never discussed with any human being on earth about changing INEC Chairman,”‎ he reiterated during an Aljazeera interview.

The APC has however turned a blind eye to the series of statements the President has made assuring that he has no plans to sack Jega, choosing instead to spin conspiracy theories and make inciting statements capable of heating the polity.

The irony of this situation is not lost on Nigerians, as a party, whose presidential candidate called for Jega’s sack barely two years ago, is now cozying up to the INEC Chairman and singing his praises.

Senators of the APC, led by George Akume, claimed they had reliable intelligence that Jega would be asked to proceed on pre-retirement leave in the second week of March, through a letter that would emanate from the office of the Head of Service of the Federation.

“We have received information from a very credible source that next week, the Chairman of INEC will be given a letter from the office of the Head of the Civil Service directing him to proceed on terminal leave.

“We want a credible election but in a situation where we are being informed that because the postponement of the election attracted no reaction from the people, Jega could be removed and a person who will do the bidding of the Government be planted, doesn’t hold water.

“We will continue to say no to impunity. We will continue to say no to any attempt to undermine the credibility of the forthcoming election,” Akume said.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party alleged that the multi-pronged efforts to prevent the elections from holding as rescheduled include the use of some 23 portfolio political parties to seek a further shift in the election dates and the destabilization of INEC’s election plan through the orchestrated removal of its Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega.

“The body language of the President and his party does not support the holding of elections. They are mortally afraid of losing because the use of PVCs and Card Readers has thwarted their rigging plans.

“Once they remove Jega, his replacement will either seek more time to organize the polls or simply jettison the plan to use Card Readers, thereby opening the door for those who have been buying up PVCs to use them.

“We commend those who have stood up to be counted in the ongoing battle to have free and fair elections,” Lai Mohammed said.

Again, the Youth leaders of the APC warned the Presidency against the alleged move to remove Jega, threatening to occupy Aso Rock and other major cities in the country if he leaves office or elections are not held on March 28.

All these statements by the APC have given credibility to the accusations made by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Almost two weeks since this claim, and the INEC chairman still remains in office, and elections looming. Such has been the blatant misinformation from the APC.

The PDP had challenged the APC to come out and explain to Nigerians the links between it and Jega, which informs and propels its feverish fixation and huge interest in his stay in office.

“While it is noted that the APC is a party of one week, one lie, we in the PDP look beneath the surfaces to the deeper issues propelling the lies. We therefore challenge the APC to come out clean and tell Nigerians the real reason behind their false alarms and uncontrolled nervousness regarding Prof. Jega ahead of the 2015 general elections,” Olisa Metuh said in a statement.

Nigerians are now suspicious of this new found friendship between the APC and INEC.

Many are also curious to know what changed between 2013 and 2015 that a previously corrupt and “not credible” Jega has now become in their estimation, capable of overseeing a credible election.

Nigerians are poised to believe the PDP’s claim that the APC and INEC are in bed with plans to rig in the APC candidate, and would not stand for it.

This and several other controversies that seem to keep trailing the APC and its candidates leave Nigerians doubtful that this ‘opposition’ party has anything to offer Nigerians.

Validating APC and INEC unholy alliance were the recent reports of a secret meeting between Jega and Vice Presidential candidate of the APC Professor Yemi Osinbajo at the Protea Hotel, Ikeja from Thursday, 19 March 2015, night till early hours of Friday. An APC source in fact told PointBlankNews.com that chieftains of the APC were also at the meeting.

“This is not the first time Jega is having nocturnal meetings with APC leaders. He has had such before with some APC Northern leaders who pointedly told him not to allow kafir (infidel) win the Presidential elections,” a source who did not want to be named told Pointblanknews.com.