Monday, March 16, 2015 8:58 pm
Members of the President Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation in Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial city, were on Monday joined by members of the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, in a protest against Professor Attahiru Jega of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The protesters, who were later also joined by officials of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA Task Force, gathered at the old Toll Gate on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway chanting anti-Jega songs and demanding that he should resign or be sacked as the country draws close to its general elections.
Armed with various weapons, including guns, knives and cutlasses, the protesters later marched along the Ikorodu Road leading to the National Stadium in the Surulere area of Lagos State where a rally was held in support of the r-election bid of President Goodluck Jonathan.
As they marched to the stadium, they destroyed posters and billboards belonging to candidates of the APC and attacked motorists and passers-by while security agents looked the other way.
Days ago, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, had also embarked on a similar protest across some South-eastern states asking that Jega should not be allowed to conduct the elections.
While the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, has accused President Jonathan of earmarking N9 billion to sponsor ethnic militias with the aim of scuttling the elections, some northern elders have also warned against any attempt to sack the chairman of INEC.
Though President Goodluck Jonathan has constantly maintained that he is not planning to fire Jega, many Nigerians remain sceptical especially with the protests against the Professor by those considered supporters of the President’s second term bid.
Meanwhile, Jega, on Monday, reiterated his resolve to ensure that the forthcoming elections in the country are peaceful, free and fair.
He also said nobody has asked him to either resign or proceed on terminal leave.
Speaking at a town hall meeting organised by REINVENT Media and some stakeholders in Abuja, Jega said he was aware of the protests against him but maintained that he would not be discouraged or frustrated in his bid to ensure that the elections were held and winners declared in a free and fair exercise.
“In fact, am aware that some groups have been protesting. Well, I have a job to do and I will do it. Nobody has asked me to resign and all of us at INEC are focused on ensuring that this election is free and fair,” he said.
He accused politicians of encouraging multiple voting during elections, but said INEC was fully prepared to frustrate multiple voting.
“This problem is posed by politicians, who pay voters to vote many times or plan to snatch ballot boxes once the voting exercise starts.
“But the time lapse will ensure that voting takes place and ends in the various polling units at the same time and voters, who want to engage in this fraudulent acts will not be able to move around,” he said.