President Goodluck Jonathan sacks electoral chairman

Abuja residents hold signs on February 7, 2015 to protest the postponement of elections. Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disagreed with the Senate on the need to use card readers to accredit voters in the forthcoming general election. AFP PHOTO

What you need to know:

  • President Jonathan said that in spite of the change of dates for the elections, the May 29 date for handover remained unchanged.
  • Meanwhile, a Federal High Court in Abuja has referred to the Court of Appeal the verdict on whether President Goodluck Jonathan was eligible to contest the election.

Nigeria’s electoral boss Prof Attahiru Jega has been ordered to leave office, just days after he postponed the country’s general elections.

This comes days after he announced the postponement of the elections to March 28 after security chiefs said they were not prepared for the exercise.

Nigeria’s presidency is said to have ordered the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to "proceed on a three months terminal leave."

Reliable sources said that Prof Jega was on Tuesday ordered by President Goodluck Jonathan, the presidential candidate for the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), to go on leave with effect from March 1.

HAD CONCLUDED PLANS

Prof Jega's tenure is supposed to end in June 2015, but analysts say that the order to for him to go on leave was inconsistent with service rules as he is not a civil servant.

“As a political appointee, Jega is supposed to run the full tenure,’’ the source said.

President Jonathan said that in spite of the change of dates for elections, the May 29 date for handing over remained unchanged.

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, said on Sunday that neither he nor his party would tolerate any further postponement of the 2015 general elections.

Mr Buhari also warned that the planned removal of Prof Jega was a ploy to rig the elections.

Meanwhile, a Federal High Court in Abuja has referred to the Court of Appeal the verdict about whether President Jonathan was eligible to contest the presidential election. Mr Jonathan has been serving the remainder of the late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua’s term.

The decision was contained in a ruling delivered on Monday by Justice Ahmed Mohammed on an application for referral filed on November 28 last year.

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