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Why Jonathan did not sack Jega before 2015 elections – Former minister



A former Minister of National Planning, Dr. Abubakar Sulaiman, under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday said the Jonathan administration had sufficient evidence that the Professor Atahiru Jega’s led Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was compromised in its handling of the 2015 general elections.

The former minister also hinted that the former President handed over to President Muhammadu Buhari to save the lives of many Nigerians, insisting that Jonathan had sufficient evidence to remove Prof. Jega from office.

Sulaiman stated this while delivering a paper on the 2015 power transition in Nigeria at the annual Zik Dinner Lecture and Award in Abuja.

According to him, Jonathan did not hand over power due to external pressure as many have been made to believe.

Speaking further, Sulaiman said contrary to general belief, there were cases of compromise by INEC

“Few months to the general elections, there were calls from some quarters for the sack of the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attairu Jega.

Read also: PDP’s error was Jega, not Jonathan, Okupe says

“There were sufficient grounds for such calls but President Goodluck maintained a position that taking such decision would altercate the process and create an impression which only an insider would understand. There were indeed cases of compromise on the part of the commission, but as the president so wished, let the sleeping dog lies.

“Invariably, the decision to maintain the status quo in the commission by the administration was one decision that further led credence to the peaceful outcome of the electoral process. We must not forget that the president in his exercise of his constitutional power has the authority to fire the chairman and replace him with any of the National Commissioners to preside over the commission.

“Nobody should be on the illusion that the president lacked the gut to exercise such power. After all, Gen. Babangida annulled the June 12 election, thereby depriving Chief M.K.O Abiola of his awaiting victory.

“It is within context of this remarkable gesture and unparallel leadership style of the president that I found it disturbing when the APC led government sometimes grudgingly acknowledged this fact or believed that it was the external pressure that accounted for such political accomplishment.

“The extent to which a political transition is peaceful and credible depends largely on variance of factors. We have however demonstrated the import of leadership factor has been consequential to the outcome of any electoral process. Is it the leadership that was out to tame the process or the one that respect the sanctity of the electoral body and other agencies?

“This paper has successfully argued that more than any government in the past, the Jonathan administration has demonstrated penchant for rule of law, freedom and untainted electoral process.

“The power of a president is such that if he had wanted to truncate the process or manipulate it, he could have,” he said

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