Anxiety as Jega meets RECs Wednesday

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BY NIYI ODEBODE

There were concerns in Abuja on Monday   that some Resident Electoral Commissioners might pass a vote of no confidence in the Independent Electoral Commission Chairman, Attahiru Jega, on Wednesday.

Jega is expected meet with the RECs on the said date to assess the collection of Permanent Voter Cards by registered voters and the situation in communities recaptured from Boko Haram.

It was gathered that the   no confidence vote might be a prelude to Jega’s removal by the Federal Government.

A top member of the commission, who confided in our correspondent, said the RECs that are backing the plot to remove Jega are known government apologists.

“The meeting on Wednesday is most likely to be stormy. I say this because some resident commissioners are plotting to move against our chairman. They may pass a no confidence vote in him. But the chairman enjoys strong backing in the commission. Any plan to pass a vote of no confidence in him will not work,” he said.

The PUNCH learnt on Monday that   Jega would demand from the resident commissioners   feedback on the rate of PVC collection in their states.

Our source   said INEC had noted the success recorded by the military in the North-East, particularly some communities recaptured from Boko Haram.

He said that some internally displaced persons in Borno and Adamawa states had started returning to their communities.

The source said that before the communities were recaptured, INEC had made provision for the IDPs to vote in their camps.

He explained that with some of them returning to their communities, the commission would reconsider its initial plan.

It was learnt that RECs from Adamawa and Borno states, would brief the meeting on the situation in the recaptured communities.

The source said, “Besides the reports we will get from security agencies, RECs from those areas will brief us on Wednesday on the situation in the communities. We will also get update on the collection of PVCs.”

Following the rescheduling of the   general elections, INEC on February 8 extended the deadline for collection of PVCs to March 8.

When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman,   Kayode Idowu, said that Nigerians should be encouraged to collect their PVCs.

Idowu, who     declined to comment on the agenda of the Wednesday meeting, said that the number of those who had collected their PVCs had increased to 55,079,365.

“As of last weekend, the figure had risen to 55, 079,365. That is 80.02 per cent,” he explained.

The commission had on Friday said the total number of PVCs collected had risen to 54,327,747 (78.93 per cent)

When asked whether the meeting would discuss extension of the deadline for the PVCs collection, Idowu said registered voters should be encouraged to collect the PVCs.

On what INEC would do for people returning to recaptured communities, he said, “It is too early to say. The commission has planned to conduct voting for the IDPs in safer areas within their states. But if they are no longer displaced as we get closer to the election date, the commission will have to address that.”

Asked to comment on fears that the meeting might be used by pro-government RECs   to pass a vote of no confidence in his boss, Idowu replied,   “That is one conversation I will not get into please.”
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