The rumour mill has long been awash with speculations that the immediate-past Vice Chancellor of Ondo State University, Akungba-Akoko in Ondo State would soon be appointed INEC Chairman. The rumour first hit the airwave about a year ago. Recently, one online portal gave renewed fillip to it in the wake of the postponement of the February general elections when some associates of President Jonathan openly canvassed the removal of Prof. Attahiru Jega as INEC Chairman. The call for Jega’s sack was predicated on the distribution and collection of Permanent Voters cards. The issue was that INEC was not ready for the polls as fixed for February 14 and 28 and that if the elections had proceeded as scheduled, about 30 million Nigerians would have been disenfranchised. The distribution of the PVCs was also said to be skewed in favour of the North. So the ingredients to believe a change might be in the offing in INEC was complete. One, as indicated earlier, there is some disenchantment against Jega from quarters close to the President. Two, Professor Femi Mimiko, a professor of Political Science like Jega, is free at the moment, having just finished his call of duty at Akungba-Akoko University (his tenure ended in January this year).
But some wary analysts and politicians had earlier punctured the talk of Prof. Mimiko’s possible appointment as INEC chair. For the avoidance of doubts, Prof. Mimiko is the younger brother of Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State who appointed him VC. With Governor Mimiko’s defection from Labour Party to the Peoples Democratic Party and his emergence as President Jonathan’s Campaign Coordinator for South-west, the analysts had said the President would not be so unfeeling as to appoint Mimiko’s brother as INEC chairman because other political parties would kick. President Jonathan himself perished any such thought of planning to oust Jega during Wednesday’s Presidential Media Chat. He dismissed the talk as stupid. He said he wished Jega was around to answer the question if he (INEC boss) enjoyed his confidence. But the President rubbed it in all the same that he appointed Jega, and he has the power to hire and fire under the constitution.