The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, has said he does not have any plan to embark on terminal leave.
This was contrary to unsubstantiated report that Jega would proceed on a forced terminal leave on March 1.
But Jega’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Kayode Idowu, denied this saying his boss was busy preparing for the conduct of the elections.
He said, “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.”
Idowu had in an interview on a TV programme monitored in Lagos, on Tuesday, said Jega’s appointment was not guided by civil service rules and would serve until the end of his tenure on June 30.
He said the postponement of the elections would make INEC better prepared for the elections scheduled for March 28 and April 11.
Idowu also denied the report that Jega had resigned his appointment due to pressure from the Presidency.
Idowu said, “No, that’s (resignation) is not true, he has not resigned. He didn’t resign. It is a mere rumour.”
Similarly, the minority leader of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, said Jega could not be asked to go on a terminal leave because he was not a civil servant.
He said, “I do not consider the Chairman of INEC as a civil servant subject to civil service rules the same way I, as a member of the House of Representatives, is not a civil servant. There is a difference between a civil servant and a public servant or officer. Jega falls under the latter.”
However, it was learnt that by norm, political appointees had at several times in the past been ordered to go on terminal leave even though they were not civil servants.
The provisions of Public Service Rules 100238 states that officers are required to give three months notice of their retirement from service terminating on the effective date of their retirement. This means Jega might be forced to proceed on terminal leave before the elections.
For instance, the tenure of Jega’s predecessor, Prof Maurice Iwu, was due to expire on June 13, 2010 but on April 28, 2010, President Goodluck Jonathan, ordered Iwu to proceed on terminal leave.