Nigeria’s House of Representatives have resolved that the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, must not be removed from office under any guise, declaring that further interference with the dates of the general election would not be allowed.
In a motion moved by Ali Ahmad, the representative of Ilorin North and South in Kwara state, the house urged the federal government to desist from interfering with the rescheduled dates of the general election as well as the present composition of INEC.
Ahmad argued that fresh threats were “precipitating” to hinder the general election, urging the house to resist any attempt to remove Jega. “Alarmed by the possibility, threat and insinuation to precipitate actions that would cause further alteration to the status quo arrangements and regulation of the general election, the house is concerned that any alteration to the status quo arrangements in whatever form at this crucial stage would invariably lead to further postponement of the date of the elections,” he said.
“The house affirms that any attempt to remove Jega will be unconstitutional, so it resolves to urge the political class, government of the federation and states to heed the warning of impending danger in interference with the general election.
“The house would hold personally accountable at domestic judicial forum or at the International Criminal Court any person or organisation that foists on INEC any decision or action whatsoever, including unconstitutional attempt to remove the current INEC chairman that has the effect of making it impracticable for elections to hold on March 28 and April 11, 2015.”
However, the deputy house leader, Hon. Leo Ogor, raised a point of order seeking the vacation of Ahmad’s motion on the grounds that it was speculative. “Nobody is removing Jega,” he said.
Giving his verdict on the matter, the speaker, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, stated that is unconstitutional for the federal government to tamper with the electoral process at this time. Tambuwal also overuled Ogor’s order.
The house subsequently resolved that the status quo as regards the general election and composition of INEC be maintained.