Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, and the All Progressives Congress on Tuesday engaged in a war of words over the fate of Prof. Attahiru Jega as the chairman of the the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Fayose began the verbal onslaught when he described the claim by the APC of a plot by the Presidency to fire Jega, as a “mere comedy.”
The governor, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, advised the opposition party to stop acting as if Nigeria belonged to it.
“President Goodluck Jonathan can sack Jega if he wishes and if he does, heavens will not fall,” Fayose boasted, alleging that the APC had, by its actions, shown that it had a pact with the INEC chairman.
“By turning themselves to advocates and defenders of the INEC chairman, the APC and its agents have shown that they have a deal with Jega to manipulate the elections,” he added.
The governor however said “that the deal will be frustrated if he (Jega) is asked to leave office.”
Fayose, according to the statement reminded the APC that the removal of any appointee of the Federal Government was a prerogative of the President, “which no one can question, provided the laid down rules are followed.”
The governor described Jega as partisan, saying, “By his actions and utterances, Jega had already demonstrated his support of the APC.’’
He said, “For instance, how can Jega explain the 80 per cent distribution of Permanent Voter Cards in Boko Haram-ravaged Borno and Yobe states while less than 40 per cent was distributed in Lagos as of February 7 that the election was postponed?
“It is on record that Prof. Maurice Iwu was asked to proceed on terminal leave two months to the end of his tenure? Is Jega not a beneficiary of Iwu’s removal?
“So, if Iwu was asked to go on terminal leave before the expiration of his tenure for Jega to assume office, what difference does it make if Jega too is asked to proceed on terminal leave before the expiration of his tenure?
“It is the President that can determine whether or not Jega will go on the mandatory three months’ terminal leave which should commence on March 8, and if the President decides that the INEC chairman should go on terminal leave, what can the APC loudmouths do?
“They boasted before the postponement of the elections that they would go on street protests, but did they do anything? They made noise when Justice Isa Ayo Salami was removed from office as President of the Court of Appeal, what did their noise amount to?
“Therefore, let me say it categorically that the noise being made by the APC and their agents will amount to nothing because if the President removes Jega today, heavens will not fall.”
He also claimed that the warning by the House of Representatives on Tuesday that removing Jega could lead to violence was that of the APC lawmakers.
The governor therefore called on “the APC lawmakers to rather pay attention to the ill-health of their party’s presidential candidate, Maj. Gen. Mohammadu Buhari (retd.), whose whereabouts is now a mystery.”
But the APC National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, berated the governor, saying his views were inconsequential since he was not the appointer of Jega.
Mohammed, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, on Wednesday, asked, “Is Fayose the appointer of Jega? What is his (Fayose’s) business there?
“We know why Fayose is so vociferous; it is because he attained the Office of the Governor through army rigging.
“Fayose knows he can’t win any free and fair election. This is why he’s crying more than the bereaved. He’s afraid that the truth has come out. No matter how long it takes, the truth will prevail.”
Jonathan had during an interview with Aljazeera, on Monday night, insisted that he had no plan to remove Jega.