By Lawrence Olaoye
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday sworn in Prof. Akinola Murtala Salau as the new Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) commissioner, charging him to demonstrate to Nigerians his sterling qualities.
This is just as he charged the electoral umpire to do everything to ensure that all Nigerians have their voters’ card.
The President equally called on the commission to be neutral in its assignment and ensure a credible election.
The event was held at the Presidential Villa.
Jonathan said Salau deserved to be congratulated because he is somebody who should have resumed office long ago, but for some issues that made government to step it down.
“These are the kind of people we want to put in INEC; people with impeccable character.
So Prof. we want to charge you to go and demonstrate clearly that you are somebody with an impeccable character and that you will do good to all Nigerians irrespective of anything.
“INEC is supposed to be absolutely neutral in their work to conduct credible election because the whole world is watching at INEC and you are coming into INEC at a very critical time with 40 days to election. So you are coming at a critical time that I believe the chairman, who is here himself, also needs your services.
“I believe Prof. Jega will even want to double the number of staff if he has the resources to make sure that they can cope because Nigerians are getting worried wether INEC can actually conduct elections.
“Talking about the PVC, even some governors are complaining that they are yet to get their PVC. If governors are yet to get their voters cards of course that means that so many Nigerians are yet to get and people are a bit worried.
“But, to me I am quite pleased; not pleased in the negative sense, the awareness that has come on board that Nigerians want to have their voters cards. Between 2011 no Nigerian will complain about voters card and that’s why when some politicians talk I just laugh.
“Before 2011 how many Nigerians complained about not having voters card because elections were not conducted with voters cards. Nobody cared, we are all adults in Nigeria and we knew what was happening. But some people came on board and sanitised electoral process but others want to take the glory.
“We have to commend ourselves that today ordinary Nigerians, biggest business men, religious leaders are complaining I want my voters card, nobody talked about that before 2011.
Responding INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega assured Jonathan that “every registered Nigerian will get his PVC February 14th, God’s willing.”