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Jega Dismisses Rumours Of Terminal Leave
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Attahiru Jega, has debunked rumours of an impending terminal leave starting on March 1.
Following the announcement of the re-scheduling of the general elections, reports have been rife about plots to oust the INEC boss by a sack or by terminal leave in line with civil service regulations.
However, the INEC chairman’s chief press secretary, Kayode Idowu, debunked the reports saying his boss was busy preparing for the conduct of the elections.
Speaking in an interview on a TV programme in Lagos on Tuesday, Idowu stated that Jega’s appointment was not guided by civil service rules and would that he would serve until the end of his tenure on June 30.
“Jega is busy preparing for the elections and you are asking about terminal leave. Does anyone planning to conduct elections go on terminal leave? There is nothing like that,” the INEC chairman’s spokesman stated.
He reaffirmed Jega’s statement that the postponement of the elections would enable INEC address any remaining challenges thereby ensuring the successful conduct of the elections now scheduled for March 28 and April 11.
Also dismissing recent reports that Jega had resigned his appointment due to pressure from the Presidency, Idowu said, “No that is not true, he has not resigned. He didn’t resign. It is a mere rumour.”
Jega, a professor of Political Science, was Vice Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano, and former President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.
He assumed office as the INEC Chairman on 8 June 2010, his predecessor being Maurice Iwu, who went on terminal leave on April 28, 2010.
Civil service regulations stipulate that officers are to give a three- month notice of their retirement from service terminating on the effective date of their retirement. Analysts have interpreted this to mean that Jega might be forced to proceed on terminal leave before the elections.
However the minority leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has stated that Jega could not be asked to go on a terminal leave because he was not a civil servant.
Speaking on the issue, Gbajabiamila said that the INEC chairman “is not a civil servant subject to civil service rules the same way I, as a member of the House of Representatives, am not a civil servant.”
“There is a difference between a civil servant and a public servant or officer. Jega falls under the latter,” the minority leader of the House of Representatives said.